Biophysical Mechanisms

Biophysical Mechanisms

Much of the scientific success of biophysics depends upon its ability to develop detailed physical mechanisms to explain specific biological processes. The double helical structure of DNA, for example, provides a framework for an explanation of how genetic material is replicated and of how genetic mutations arise: specific proteins mediate the unwinding of the DNA duplex and the assembly of a new strand based on complementary base pairing of the four DNA bases, guanine with cytosine and adenine with thymine; mismatch of one of these base pairs generates a complementary strand with a single base substitution (a mutation). The value of this, and a variety of other biophysical mechanisms, is unlimited for human knowledge in general and for biomedical research in particular.


  • HHMI’s BioInteractive is an educational site for middle school to college/university level with information on cancer, neuroscience, biological clocks, infectious diseases, DNA & RNA, etc., generated and maintained by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Electrical Behavior of Cells

  • Recent Advances in Nuclear Electrophysiology, Jose Omar Bustamante. Previously published in Biophysics Textbook Online.
  • Electrophysiology and the Molecular Basis of Excitability. Site generated and maintained by F. Benzanilla, the University of California at Los Angeles.

Energy Transduction in Membranes (Edited by W.A. Cramer)

Protein Function

Membrane Behavior

Muscle Contraction and Cell Motility

  • Biochemistry of Muscle Contraction describes the mechanisms and physiology of muscle contraction. Site generated and maintained by Michael Barany and Kate Barany, University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • The Myosin Home Page – Hosted by the Myosin Group at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

Protein Folding

  • Unraveling the Mystery of Protein Folding, W.A. (Bill) Thomasson. Breakthroughs in Bioscience article from FASEB, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
  • Folding@Home Distributed Computing Project – “Folding@Home is a distributed computing project which studies protein folding, misfolding, aggregation, and related diseases. We use novel computational methods and large scale distributed computing, to simulat timescales thousands to millions of times longer than previously achieved.” This site provides information about protein folding and its importance and provides software for personal computers that allows individuals to participate in the protein folding computing process.