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Career in Biophysics


Biophysics applies the principles of mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics to the study of living cells and organisms including structures and fine structures, bioelectric phenomena, radiation effects, molecular behaviour, photosynthesis, membranes and modelling. Breakthroughs in unravelling the DNA have made it possible to study the inner workings of biological systems with unprecedented precision to investigate how the brain processes and stores information, how the heart pumps blood, how muscles contract, etc. The goal of modern research in drug discovery is to develop drugs that act in a specific way with minimal side effects while being demonstrably better than the existing therapies. Conventional approaches of drug discovery end up being a long and expensive process. Hundreds of thousands of samples need to be screened before reaching some potential compounds with desired properties. Not just that, it ends up taking dozens of years and millions of dollars. However, with the advances in protein structure determination, structure-based drug design has emerged as a powerful and swifter tool to develop new drugs with specific properties and minimal side effects. In structure based drug design, the three-dimensional structure of a drug target interacting with small molecules is used for drug discovery. Biophysicists work in universities, industry, medical centres, research institutes and government. The applications of biophysics are quite significant in biochemistry, nanotechnology, bioengineering and systems biology but its range of research is vast and includes topics such as structural biology or enzyme kinetics etc. Like any other field of research, be prepared for extended study-a PhD and perhaps even post-doctoral research to make a headway in this field. MSc biophysics is offered at Panjab University, Chandigarh, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, University of Mumbai, University of Madras among others. The department of biophysics, at AIIMS is a centre of drug discovery and clinical proteomics, which seamlessly combines structural biology, bioinformatics and proteomics. Eligibility: BSc (H) with minimum 60% aggregate. Selection is on the basis of an entrance exam (90 minutes with 90 objective-type questions).