Biological Physics

What is Biophysics?

Biophysics applies approaches and methods of physics to study and model biological systems quantitatively. Exciting discoveries often come out of the sciences that at the interfaces between multiple fields. Physics and biology are two such fields. It takes an adventurous scientist to train in these two fields at the same time. The impact, when they are brought together, leads new and amazing understanding of the living world.

The Biophysics groups at UB develop new computational and experimental tools to investigate structure-function relationships in proteins, study the nanoscale details of the surface of cells effecting their function in health and disease, and use nanotechnology to manipulate signaling deep in the brain. Students learn to work with advanced optical and laser methods, build electronics, develop software and compute models.

The labs at UB utilize cutting edge technologies, such as super-resolution fluorescence-lifetime microscopy, optical trapping, magnetic nanoparticle heating and nanoscale temperature measurements, as well as THz-spectroscopy and single molecule spectroscopy. UB projects address questions of how enzymes function, protein switches operate, neuronal networks control behavior, anesthetics function, or fever is beneficial.

Biophysics News


Membrane-less organelles, found inside human cells, have a variety of important biological functions, from gene regulation to stress response.


The minimally invasive technique could lead to advances in mapping the brain and treating neurological disease.


Researchers show that they can quickly measure a protein’s microscopic movements, opening new possibilities in medical research.

Who We Are

Priya Banerjee – Molecular Biophysics, Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
Andrea Markelz – Molecular Biophysics, THz-Spectroscopy
Arnd Pralle – New Optical Tools for Cellular Biophysics, Magnetothermal Stimulation for Neuroscience
Wenjun Zheng – Computational Biophysics

Current Biophysics Graduate Students, Postdocs and Research Staff

Ibraheem Alshareedah, Taranpreet Kaur, and Dr. Wei Wang  (Banerjee group)

Yanting Deng, Catherine Luck, Dr. Deepu George, and Dr. Jeffrey Mckinney  (Markelz group)

Muye He, Rahul Munshi, Yue Xing, Michael Zucker, Dr. Junting Liu, Dr. Komal Seth, and Sara Parker (M.Sc.) (Pralle group)

Sushree Tripathy and Han Wen (Zheng group)

Biophysics Courses

PHY433/533 - Introduction to Cellular Biophysics   this course discusses concepts, theoretical modeling, and experimental methods used in modern biophyiscs focusing on how cells and tissues aquire shape and communicate; book: "The Physical Biology of the Cell". This course is be offered in alternating Spring semesters. (email for further info)

PHY483/583 - Introduction to Molecular Biophysics   this course discusses concepts, theoretical modeling, and experimental methods used in modern molecular biophyiscs. This course is be offered in alternating Spring semesters. (email for further info)

PHY425 - Optics   this course discusses concepts, theoretical modeling, and experimental methods used in modern optics. This course is be offered in alternating Fall semesters. (email for further info)

Recent Biophysics Alumni

Where are the Biophysics alumni of the past ten years now ? 

Meet some recent alumni: Heng Huang (PhD) ,  Junghon Choi (BS)

CAMBI Fellowship

The CAMBI Fellowship promotes the pursuit of interdisciplinary biological physics graduate research, and retention of the best and brightest graduate students in physics. This fellowship is awarded based on a student’s demonstration of excellence in their first year of graduate study, and supplies $8,000 in addition to the recipient's annual stipend. Application in Spring semester.

How to Apply


Both domestic and international students are eligible for the award. All applicants must:

  1. Demonstrate excellent academic achievement through a minimum 3.5 GPA based on core physics courses.
  2. Demonstrate excellent research achievement through independent study work in biological physics under the supervision of one of the biological physics faculty.
  3. Have completed no more that 9 months of graduate study at the University at Buffalo.

To Apply:

Applicants must submit a one-page proposal on the biological physics research they intend to pursue at UB.

The annual deadline is April 15. Faculty in biological physics will choose the recipient on or before April 30. If chosen to receive this fellowship, the recipient must commit his/her efforts to summer research in biological physics in the Department of Physics.

For further information on this fellowship, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies.

Recent Winners of the CAMBI Fellowship

2018 - Muye He and [Pralle] and Ibraheem Alshareedah [Banerjee]
2017 - Isiaka Mansaray [Pralle] and Nathaniel Fuller [Zheng]
2014 - Yanting Deng, Menyang Xu [both Markelz], and Han Wen [Zheng]
2013 - Rahul Munshi [Pralle], 
2012 - Weixiang Jin [Pralle]
2011 - Katherine Niessen [Markelz] 
2010 - Ben Keen [Markelz]
2009 - Muhammed Simsek [Pralle]
2008 - Huang Heng [Pralle]
2007 - Yunfen He [Markelz]