A question about Graduate school programs

William Tivol tivol at news.wadsworth.org
Mon Jun 5 10:06:32 EST 1995

Pablo (amarino1 at cc.swarthmore.edu) wrote:
:    I have two questions and I am hoping that someone out there will be
: able to answer them.
: my first
: question is this- What exactly is Biophysics and why does it seem to be so
: closely associated with physiology and not other biological fields (at
: least in the sense of graduate programs)?

Dear Pablo,
	Biophysics, roughly, is the use of physical techniques to solve bio-
logical problems.  It is associated with physiology because there are a large
range of problems amenable to study with, e.g., patch clamping (isolating a
small area of a membrane and investigating its electrical properties) and other
related techniques.  Studies of the properties of cells in various environments
also can make use of physical techniques such as differential scanning calor-
imetry, etc.  Other fields in biology depend less on such techniques--molecular
biology uses more chemistry-related techniques, for example.  This is not to
say either that chemistry techniques are not useful in physiology (application
of agonists or antagonists and their effects on physiological variables) or
that physical techniques are not useful in molecular biology (crystallography,
magnetic resonance, etc.).
	I hope someone has a good biophysics reference for you; I don't.
				Bill Tivol

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