Biophysics Graduate Program
The Biophysics Graduate Program is designed for those young scientists who wish to develop research skills to use in academic and clinical settings.
Magnetic Resonance Biophysics
In the Magnetic Resonance Biophysics track, particular emphasis is placed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the human brain is an active research area (neuroscience, contrast mechanisms, technical development).
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 and yet are also an integral part of cellular communication. Free radicals can also be used to label proteins and to 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 (the National Biomedical EPR Center). Students with a more 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 Ph.D. degree. All full-time students receive a stipend ($28,141 in 2014-2015), full tuition coverage, and exceptional, full health-care coverage. In addition, there are no teaching requirements. Provided that the student remains in good academic standing and makes continual progress, the stipend will be paid for at least five years.