Biophysics Graduate Program
The Biophysics Graduate Program features two primary areas of research: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and molecular biophysics. Our program is designed to assist young scientists in developing the research skills they need to thrive in academic and clinical settings.
Magnetic Resonance Biophysics
In the magnetic resonance biophysics track, particular emphasis is placed on MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Functional MRI (fMRI) of the human brain (e.g., neuroscience, contrast mechanisms, technical development) is an active area of research.
The molecular biophysics track encompasses the investigation, detection, and use of free radicals and paramagnetic metal ions in biological systems. Free radicals are involved in many disease processes but are also an integral part of cellular communication. They can be used to label proteins and map out protein structure, providing information on protein dynamics and conformational changes that cannot be obtained from crystal structure data. In addition, free-radical labels can be used to probe the dynamics of biological membranes. Paramagnetic metal ions are central to most biological processes and electron transfer systems. A major technique used in the above studies is electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR). The Department of Biophysics houses one of the few national centers for EPR-related research (i.e., the National Biomedical EPR Center). Students with more of a physical background may specialize in EPR instrumentation. Additionally, the Department of Biophysics is home to the Free Radical Research Center.
The Biophysics Graduate Program has approximately 15 to 20 graduate students at any given time. This smaller program allows for an informal atmosphere where students are able to work closely with faculty members in addition to other graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
All graduate students admitted to the program work toward a PhD degree. All full-time PhD students receive full tuition remission, health insurance, and a stipend ($28,141 in 2014-2015). Provided that the student remains in good academic standing and makes continual progress, the stipend will be paid for at least five years. Graduate students have no teaching requirements.