An interdepartmental program with over 50 years of history

Beginning in the 1930’s and through today, UW-Madison has maintained a strong tradition in cutting-edge molecular biophysics. The Biophysics Program was born in 1964, when the University established a non-departmental Ph.D. Degree Program in Biophysics. At the time, it was aimed primarily at undergraduate physics and chemistry majors. In 1965, an NIH Biophysics Training Grant was awarded, the NIH-funded Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP).  The Biophysics Program and MBTP share a parallel history over 50 years, during which they nucleated and supported the dramatic growth in molecular biophysics on the UW-Madison campus.

Over the decades, the program has naturally expanded to embrace the reality of today’s interdisciplinary and collaborative science. From an original group of 5 trainers in 3 departments, the program now includes over 50 faculty trainers affiliated with 12 departments that span four colleges. The Biophysics Program has grown to become a dynamic  and flexible program focused on structure, function, spectroscopy, computation and all most quantitative aspects of modern biology. The program is strong of a diverse pool of exceptional students with backgrounds across biology, physics, chemistry, and bioengineering.

Learn here what we offer.

Ion Channel Thermodynamics. Credits: formed Biophysics student Sandipan Chowdhury & Prof. Baron Chanda: J Gen Physiol (2012) 139, 3–17
Biophysics PhD student Josh Larson and Prof. Aaron Hoskins at the laser table

Molecular Biophysics Training Program

Graduate training in Biophysics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is organized through two distinct but very closely allied programs: the Biophysics Graduate Degree Program, which confers the Ph.D. in Biophysics to its graduates, and the Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP), a program built around an NIH NRSA Institutional Training Grant awarded through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. MBTP was awarded in 1965; it continued until the phase-out of NIH training programs in the 1970s, and was funded again beginning in 1989 through the present. The two programs are coordinated through a common leadership and administrative structure to bring together the UW-Madison Biophysics community around mutual interests and needs. The training grant provides funds to help recruit, encourage and support a selected group of graduate students in this important area.

Our Research Buildings

The Biophysics program’s administrative home is in Bock Laboratories, however, our students are spread across campus. With trainers in 12 different departments, we have students in the Biochemistry complex, Chemistry building, Engineering complex, and the Medical campus.

UW-Madison campus, on the shores of Lake Mendota, is large and yet compact. Most buildings can be reached by a short walk or a few minutes on the campus shuttle.

Photo credits for this website: Robin Davies (Biochemistry Media Lab) and the UW-Madison Photo Library