JILA biophysicists apply tools and concepts from physics to the understanding of living systems at the molecular level, particularly in molecular biophysics, single-molecule biophysics, and biological force standards. 

The field of biophysics promises answers to important questions about the structure, dynamics, function, and interactions of biological molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. JILA scientists are developing unique ways to precisely measure the structure and function of individual proteins and nucleic acids, both of which are important molecules for living organisms. JILA scientists are also pioneering new methods to image and measure real-time biochemical activities within living cells and tissues. These research endeavors advance our understanding fundamental biological processes and support biomedical scientists in developing new drugs and diagnostics.

Researchers in Biophysics

Photograph of Ralph Jimenez Ralph Jimenez
Focus: Biophysics, Ultrafast Lasers, Chemical Physics, Microfluidics Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of David Nesbitt David Nesbitt
Focus: Chemical Physics, Biophysics, Molecular Ions Role: Experimentalist
Photograph of Thomas T. Perkins Thomas T. Perkins
Focus: Biophysics, AFM, Optical Tweezers, Single Molecule Role: Experimentalist

Recent Highlights in Biophysics

Although one might think it would be simple, the genetics of bacteria can be rather complicated. A bacterium’s genes use a set of regulatory proteins and other molecules to monitor and change genetic expressions within the organism. One such mechanism is the riboswitch, a small piece of RNA that can turn a gene “on” or “off.” In order to “flip…

When it comes to inspiring young people to pursue a career within the sciences, you can't start too early. At least, that's what the JILA Excellence in Diversity and Inclusivity (JEDI) group believed when they collaborated with the Colorado non-profit organization Pretty Brainy to develop a speaker series. The series, designed for girls from…

There are many ways to diagnose health conditions. One of the most common methods is blood testing. This sort of test can look for hundreds of different kinds of molecules in the body to determine if an individual has any diseases or underlying conditions. Not everyone is a fan of needles, however, which makes blood tests a big deal for some…