Biophysics

The field of biophysics has experienced tremendous growth and excitement in recent years. The Physics of Living Systems Group within the Physics Department at MIT includes over 60 scientists spread across eight research groups. Our goal is to combine a rigorous training in physics together with an interdisciplinary approach to modern problems in biophysics. Graduate students in the Department benefit from an interactive and supportive intellectual community, including the opportunity to earn a Graduate Certificate in Biophysics.

Biophysics research within the Department spans many scales, from the structural organization of polymers to the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of populations. Professor Nikta Fakhri combines concepts from biology, soft matter and statistical physics to decode non-equilibrium mechanisms in active living matter. Professor Ibrahim Cissé uses physical techniques to visualize weak and transient biological interactions, to study emergent phenomena in live cells with single molecule sensitivity. Professor Jeff Gore studies the emergent evolutionary and ecological phenomena that arise within multispecies microbial communities.

On the theoretical front, Professor Mehran Kardar is a statistical physicist with interests in pattern formation, protein knots, and the immune response. Professor Max Tegmark is currently focused on the physics of intelligence: using physics-based tools to better understand biological and artificial intelligence. Additionally, two theorists have joint appointments in the Department. Professor Leonid Mirny is a computational systems biologist with major efforts devoted to characterizing the spatial organization of the genome and the evolutionary dynamics in cancer. Professor Arup Chakraborty uses statistical mechanical methods to complement biological experiments and clinical data to understand how the adaptive immune system works. He is also interested in the role of phase separation in mammalian gene regulation.

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