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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Physics & Astronomy


Physics & Astronomy

Molecular and Cellular Biophysics program

The Molecular and Cellular Biophysics (MCB) PhD program provides opportunities for doctoral studies in the interdisciplinary field of biophysics. Participation of faculty from the Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Physics & Astronomy enhances the strength and breath of our program by incorporating cross-disciplinary and collaborative approaches to research. The MCB PhD program is centered on research activities that coincide with faculty experience and expertise. Areas of research in the MCB program include cellular physiology, developmental dynamics, protein folding, protein network analysis, signal transduction cascades, and the development of novel imaging techniques. Projects at the interface of traditional disciplines of physics, biology and chemistry as well as methods of mathematical analysis and computer modeling are particularly encouraged.

Flexibility, diversity and opportunity

The MCB PhD program offers both a core foundation in biophysical theory and practice, yet provides flexibility and individualized attention such that students with diverse scientific backgrounds will have the opportunity to be trained in molecular and cellular biophysics. During their first year in the program, students conduct lab rotations, take a year-long course sequence that covers foundations of molecular and cellular biophysics and take additional graduate courses to supplement their undergraduate training. At the end of their first year, students will join the lab in which they will conduct their thesis research.

Students with strong quantitative undergraduate backgrounds (e.g., undergraduate degrees in physics, chemistry, mathematics) who desire to apply these skills to various biological problems, as well as students with a background in cell or molecular biology with a solid foundation in mathematics and physics are particularly encouraged to apply. Financial aid is usually offered in the form of Graduate Teaching or Graduate Research Assistantships, which cover tuition costs and provide a stipend for living expenses.

For more information, visit the MCB homepage.