Biology studies the variety and complexity of life. Physics looks for mathematical laws of nature and makes detailed predictions about the forces at play. When you put them together, the result is a powerful tool for analyzing the patterns of life and gaining insight on the “how,” “why,” and “what may be next.”
Biophysics has revolutionized modern medicine, leading to the development of various techniques for imaging the human body and treating disease. A few of these breakthroughs include the discovery of the DNA double helix as well as the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, laser therapy, nuclear medicine, and radiation therapy.
The Biophysics concentration at Drake is a highly interdisciplinary program that draws on methodologies from physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, and computational sciences. The program will prepare you to apply the theories and methods of physics to biological questions at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels. At completion, you’ll have a deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms of biological processes; the physical principles underlying life, disease, and the diagnostic treatment of disease; and the analytical skills to understand and apply the cutting-edge, physics-derived methodologies in biophysical and biomedical research.
This concentration pairs well with other disciplines, such as Physics; Astronomy; Biology; Chemistry; Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology; Psychology; Pharmacy; Health Sciences; and generally any field in which application of physics to biological systems is useful.
This concentration requires 29–30 credit hours. Coursework also includes a Research Participation Capstone.
Biophysical principles and methods are widely used in basic research done in academia, biotechnology companies, and medical research institutes. The concentration also provides a strong background for further studies in biophysics, biomechanics, medical fields, and other areas.
Potential career paths for students interested in biophysics include basic or applied research (such as biophysics, applied physics, biomedical engineering, computational biology, neurobiology, physiology, etc.); professional schools in medicine, health sciences, business, etc.; or immediate professional positions in biomedical research and biotech institutes or companies.
The highly interdisciplinary character of a biophysics degree means that biophysicists can work in a wide variety of research fields. A biophysics background is also a very strong foundation for further training in a medical field, such as medicine and physical therapy.
Training in biophysics is also likely to provide a competitive advantage for students interested in pursuing a combined M.D./Ph.D. advanced degree.