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The BioFrontiers Institute attracts faculty working across diverse disciplines, such as biophysics research, to leverage CU’s departmental strengths with the aim of improving human health and well-being.

Bioimaging: From Molecules to Organisms

Applying physical principles to visualize, measure and understand key biological processes.

The BioFrontiers Institute attracts faculty working across diverse disciplines to leverage CU’s departmental strengths in biophysics research with the aim of improving human health and well-being. Fundamental insights into biology have come from the ability to watch biological processes in action. Developing probes of behavior in biophysics research, including spectroscopy and imaging techniques provides researchers with the ability to better understand relationships within an organism and how they respond to variants like bacterial pathogens and heavy metals. These interdisciplinary BioFrontiers faculty members are focused on the use of biophysics and imaging in their research:

Loren Hough studies intrinsically disordered proteins. These proteins are important precursors to aggregates that appear in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. He developed in-cell nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to study these proteins and their behaviors. Read more

Joel Kralj works to create new tools to study functions of molecules, cells and organisms. Combinations of biochemistry, molecular engineering, optics, microfluidics and image processing are applied to diverse model systems, including bacteria, cardiomyocytes and neurons.

Amy Palmer develops specialized fluorescence imaging techniques. She uses these tools to develop probes for imaging cellular metal homeostasis and cellular signaling, which have applications in understanding Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, neurodegeneration, and persistent bacterial infections. Read more

Zhongping Tan studies the effects of glycosylation on protein structure, function and stability. His goal is to understand the role of glycosylation in industrially and therapeutically important proteins.

Key Collaborators

In addition to our core faculty, BioFrontiers faculty members tie together a network of collaborators across the University of Colorado system. These collaborators include:

Meredith Betterton - Physics; interests in biophysics research, soft condensed matter physics, and systems biology/bioinformatics

Matthew Glaser Physics; interests in computational statistical physics, complex fluid physics, materials science, and biophysics research

Jim Goodrich - Chemistry & Biochemistry; interests in molecular mechanisms governing mammalian RNA polymerase II transcription

Ralph Jimenez - Chemistry & Biochemistry; JILA, interests in molecular biophysics and optics for biotechnology

Xuedong Liu - Chemistry & Biochemistry; interests in chemical biology, biochemistry, cancer, and cellular regulation

David Nesbitt - Chemistry & Biochemistry, NIST, JILA; interests in laser spectroscopy, dynamics, and kinetics of fundamental molecular, bio-molecular, and nanoparticle systems

Tom Perkins - Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, NIST, JILA; interests in single molecule measurements of biological systems



Key Facilities

The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building houses several core labs to support researchers with the resources they need for biophysics research. In addition, the BioFrontiers Institute provides the regional biotech community with access to research facilities including next-generation sequencing applications and NMR spectroscopy. The BioFrontiers Advanced Light Microscopy Core offers quantitative microscopy techniques and equipment capable of capturing the highly dynamic nature of biological processes.