Biophysics uses physical methods to study biological systems. The field can be broadly divided into three main areas: molecular, cellular, and systems biophysics.
At Berkeley, molecular biophysicists detect and manipulate single molecules to elucidate molecular motors, protein folding, polymer (biopolymer) physics, single molecule rheology, and the dynamics of complex processes such as transcription, replication, translation, etc. Cellular biophysicists look at molecular mechanisms of channel gating, the design and building of alternative chemical network wiring inside cells, and the imaging of fundamental cell processes. A major strength of the Berkeley program is the imagining of living cellular systems through super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, a technique pioneered by Eric Betzig.
The field of systems biophysics, also represented in the department, aims at describing collective phenomena, such as the evolutionary and ecological dynamics of populations, biofilm development, sensory studies, neural development, synapse organization, neural transmission, and the functional imaging of the brain.