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Biophysics – An Emerging Branch of Science

written by: Rafael•edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 7/29/2008

Biophysics is an emerging new field in science that is implementing different areas of science to make further research studies possible.

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    You may have heard the term biophysics, but were not able to know exactly what the term means, or how it is applied in today’s world of science and technology. Biophysics is defined as the application of physics applied to the world of all living things. There has been a lot of work and study done in this field lately and some of the newest and most exciting work has been done with applications on neurons and how they transmit electrochemical signals in and through the body.

    Some of the most innovative work has been done lately with biophysics and how it relates to nervous system work. The nervous system has been a popular topic for decades among the scientific research studies done and by the medical community. New advances in technology have allowed biologists and physicists to be able to further their knowledge and work on neuron transmission in the body through the applications of biophysics.

    Perhaps one of the biggest areas of focus for biophysics work in the nervous system has been done on neural encoding. Through neural encoding, information is represented by neurons and is encoded in distinctive patterns called action potentials. There have been a lot of advancements in the way that scientists are able to view and study this activity through the technologies of neuroimaging.

    Neuroimaging incorporates the various techniques of different modalities to image areas of the brain and nervous system. It is relatively new to the world of science, and the progress that has been made lately in the field is yielding exciting new findings. The way that the brain and nervous system transmit information through neuron transmitters has been captivating scientists for many years, and up until recently there has been limited availability of imaging techniques that are able to capture important images of the nervous system and neurons in order to further research and new discoveries.

    Biophysics combines different modalities of science and is broadly used in a number of disciplines including biology, physics, computational mathematics, bioinformatics, computer science and information technology. While there are not currently a lot of individual course work offerings at major universities, there have been a lot of integrations of the field in different areas of study.

    Molecular biology has been using the applications of biophysics in almost all form and efforts to be able to study and analyze information on DNA and protein sequences on the molecular levels. Structural biology involves it in the study of proteins, nucleic acids and other complexes of lipids. Computer science involves the use of holding and storing all of the data and information into large databases to ensure the security of the information and to make it readily available for on-going research and studies.

    Pharmacology and physiology have been using biophysics and incorporating it into studying events on the cellular level and the interactions that take place in cellular membranes.

    Other branches of science are continuing to encompass biophysics as part of their area of study as well.