Biophysics

2014-15 Tuition

$20,800

Application deadlines

Fall, Dec. 8; no spring admission

Requirements summary

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • three letters of recommendation
  • GRE general test
  • GRE subject test in Physics, Chemistry or Biology is highly recommended but not required

Degrees

  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Biophysics (Ph.D.)

Major concentrations

  • biophysics

Graduate study in biophysics is interdisciplinary and highly individualized. Students majoring in biophysics are expected to obtain a broad, interdisciplinary knowledge of fundamental principles in both the biological and physical sciences. But because biophysics covers a wide range of areas, it would be unrealistic to expect to master each facet in detail. A student working in computational modeling of protein motions will develop a strong background in statistical physics, computational science and chemistry, while a student involved in laser studies of proteins in biological membranes will develop a strong background in quantum physics, instrumentation, chemistry and biomembranes.

At the point of passing the "A" exam -- usually after two years of study -- each student is expected to demonstrate competence in specific subject areas that serve as a foundation for further work. Areas of required competence are: advanced mathematics, physical chemistry (i.e., statistical mechanics and/or quantum mechanics), biochemistry and molecular cell biology, computer literacy and/or laboratory electronics and instrumentation, and advanced studies in molecular biophysics and associated areas of biological and physical sciences.

The field's members are drawn from fourteen departments in seven campus units, and include three members of the National Academy of Sciences. International and national honors won by members of the Cornell biophysics faculty include the Biological Physics prize of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Eli Lilly Award in Biochemistry, the Pfizer Award, and Guggenheim and Fogarty Foundation fellowships.

Research facilities for X-ray crystallography, optical, laser, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and computation include the Cornell Theory Center (supercomputing); the Center for High Energy Synchrotron Studies; MacCHESS (Macromolecular Crystallography at the Center for High Energy Synchrotron Studies), the Developmental Resource for Biophysical Imaging Optoelectronics, the Center for Advanced Technology in Biotechnology; the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility; the Keck 3D Stereo Viewing Theater; the Biomolecular NMR Center; and the Chemistry NMR Facility.

Application:
Applicants must have a strong background in the physical sciences, and must submit scores on the GRE general test and on a relevant GRE subject test (physics or chemistry preferred). TOEFL scores of Writing (20), Listening (15), Reading (20) and Speaking (22) or higher are also required of all non-native English speaking applicants. Additional admission information is available on the Field's Web site, www.biophysics.cornell.edu/admission/application.html.

Barbara Baird -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: structure and molecular mechanisms of cell surface immunoreceptors; protein chemistry
John Brady -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: molecular biophysics; molecular dynamics simulations (MD); neutron diffraction experiments; aqueous solutions; biopolymer interactions; carbohydrates
Richard Cerione -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: signal transduction; protein structure; drug design
Joshua Chappie -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: Structural biology, biophysics, protein biochemistry, bacterial pathogenesis and defense systems, infection/agent, intracellular trafficking, nucleotide-driven molecular machines, molecular membrane remodeling, protein-nucleic acid interactions
Peng Chen -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: single-molecule spectroscopy; metallochaperone protein interaction; metalloregulator-DNA interaction; nanoparticle catalysis
Harold Craighead -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: nanostructures, biotechnology; DNA analysis; biosensors; molecular motors
Brian Crane -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: bioinorganic catalysis; protein structure; electron transfer; light and redox sensing
Steven Ealick -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: enzyme and inhibitor structures; x-ray crystallography; molecular modeling
Gerald Feigenson -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: biological membranes and membrane proteins; NMR, ESR, fluorescence spectroscopy
Jack Freed -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: electron spin resonance; dynamic structure of membranes; protein structure and dynamics
J. Chris Fromme -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: biological membrane transport; GTPase regulation or protein trafficking; X-ray crystallography
Sol Gruner -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: structure and properties of soft matter; biomaterials; x-ray instrumentation and methods
George Hess -- Concentrations: Research interests: neurotransmitter function and new chemical kinetic techniques; laser pulse photolysis
David Holowka -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: IgE and T-cell antigen receptors; fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy
Toshimitsu Kawate -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: Molecular mechanisms of extracellular signaling; membrane receptors; ion channels; X-ray crystallography; electrophysiology; cell biology
Ailong Ke -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: structure and function studies of RNA and RNA-protein complexes
Michael Kotlikoff -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: muscle biology, mouse genetics, molecular imaging, ion channels
Manfred Lindau -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: biophysics
Roger Loring -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: nonequilibrium statistical mechanics; semiclassical approximations to quantum dynamics; nonlinear infrared spectroscopy of biomolecules
Yuxin Mao -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: X-ray protein crystallography; membrane trafficking; phosphoinositide signaling pathway
Linda Nicholson -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: multidimensional NMR studies of the biophysical basis of protein regulation
Robert Oswald -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: ion channel receptor/ligand interactions; NMR and molecular dynamics
Thomas Owens -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: excited state transfer reactions; time-resolved spectroscopy and computer simulation
Matthew Paszek -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: Mechano-transduction, membrane biophysics, super-resolution imaging, cancer biophysics
Poul Petersen -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: Interfacial water; biological water; proton transfer; chirality
Lois Pollack -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests:
James Sethna -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: statistical mechanics; condensed-matter physics; biophysics; systems biology; materials science
David Shalloway -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: computational protein folding and dynamics; algorithms for structure-based drug design
Holger Sondermann -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: regulation in cellular transduction; structural biology; enzyme kinetics; biochemistry
Robert Thorne -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: materials physics problems in structural genomics, including phase behavior and interactions in protein solutions; protein purification; disorder and disordering mechanisms in protein crystals; radiation damage and its mitigation; cryopreservation techniques; development of new hardware; synchrotron-based imaging and diffraction; atomic force microscopy; light scattering; nanofabrication.
Michelle Wang -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: molecular motors; mechanics of gene expression; RNA polymerase; biopolymers
Mingming Wu -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: Directed cell migration mediated by ligand-receptor binding, cancer biology, microfluidics, and optical microscopy
Chris Xu -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: biomedical imaging; fiber optics; optical instrumentation
Warren Zipfel -- Concentrations: biophysics; Research interests: optical microscopy; multiphoton imaging; fluorescence spectroscopy and bioanalytical methods; cancer biology

Graduate School Professors (emeritus)

Harold Scheraga -- Concentrations: Research interests: protein folding; physicochemical methods and molecular dynamics