The University of Massachusetts Amherst

The mission of the Center for Biological Physics is to bring physical insight and the tools of physical measurement to the study and understanding of biological systems, from single biomolecules, to functional biomolecular assemblies, to living cells.  

Identification of the properties of matter that enable life is one of the great remaining questions in science. How do simple building blocks and rules create complex, dynamic organisms? How do physical interactions between inanimate molecules lead to the vital behaviors? How do we use physical principles to create materials whose properties are biocompatible or mimic living systems?

We explore these questions through research in molecular, membrane, cell, and nanoscale biophysics. Our work is intrinsically interdisciplinary. It brings the logic of theoretical physics and the quantitative nature of physical measurement to the examination of biological matter. Our efforts are enhanced by vigorous soft-matter research at the university, and by the many departments and programs whose activities contribute to the center.