Research at the Department of Biophysics has two main focuses, described below.
The National Biomedical EPR Center at MCW is one of the largest EPR facilities in the nation. It is a national P41 research resource supported by NCRR/NIH. Spectrometers are available for S-, X-, L-, Q- , and W-band EPR, many with ENDOR, ELDOR, saturation transfer, saturation recovery, and multiquantum capabilities. Numerous collaborations and many projects are underway in the EPR Center, including research on
- Free radicals,
- Spin labels,
- Metalloproteins, and
- EPR methodology and instrumentation.
Brain Imaging and Informatics
Scientists in the Department of Biophysics have been engaged in MRI research for more than 20 years, beginning with the installation of one of the first 1.5 Tesla scanners produced by GE Healthcare. Early papers were concerned mostly with the development of surface coils tailored to nearly every body part in the context of musculoskeletal radiology. In 1992, MCW students and faculty published the first paper on fMRI, and available resources became focused on the new field of fMRI. Technology development continued to be important, including the introduction of the local gradient coil for fMRI and development of the widely used fMRI software program AFNI (Analysis of Functional NeuroImages). Currently, emphasis on fMRI technology continues, but, increasingly, MRI research in the Department of Biophysics involves mechanisms of fMRI contrast in the brain and applications of fMRI to problems in neuroscience.
Biophysics MRI researchers work closely with the MRI Safety Committee.
Biophysics faculty participate in research in these centers.
Bioenergetics Shared Resource
The MCW Cancer Center Bioenergetics Shared Resource is dedicated to cancer research through the utilization of cutting-edge technology to advance the field. The resource focuses on using in vitro techniques to measure different metabolic rates and to develop new drugs in cancer cell treatment.
Free Radical Research Center
The purpose of the Free Radical Research Center is to promote and stimulate free radical research at MCW, to help acquire increased NIH and other extramural funding for MCW researchers engaged in free radical and nitric-oxide-related research, and to promote increased collaborations in free radical research between basic scientists and clinical researchers.
National Biomedical EPR Center
The mission of the National Biomedical EPR Center is to make advanced EPR research resources available to investigators locally, regionally, and nationally. The National Biomedical EPR Center, supported by grant no. P41 EB001980 from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB/NIH), provides core support in five areas:
- Technical Research & Development
Redox Biology Program
The mission of the Redox Biology Program is to foster communication and an exchange of expertise among a broad, interdisciplinary group of clinicians and basic science researchers in the spirit of collaborative research.
Biophysics faculty also participate in these MCW research centers: