Biological Physics

Biological Physics is an area of research that uses physics methods and approaches to understand biological systems, such as genetic networks, cellular machinery, or animal and plant physiology. This is an integrative research area that often overlaps with molecular biologybiochemistry, systems biology, nanotechnology, and bioengineering, among others.

At Duke, some of our Biological Physics projects include investigations of DNA self-assembly as a promising method for nano-electronics. Another project investigates genetic regulatory networks, where the sequencing of full genomes and monitoring of the concentrations of thousands of molecular species within cells have given us new windows into the physical nature of life. Investigations of tissue mechanics in developmental biology are determining the role of molecular-scale and cellular-scale dynamics and larger scale emergent properties in pattern formation. Another project uses radioisotopes to track changes in plant physiology as a consequence of environmental changes.