Host Department: Physics and Life Sciences
Biophysics is a molecular science. It seeks to explain biological function in terms of the molecular structures and properties of specific molecules. These molecules, the sole building blocks of living organisms, assemble into cells, tissues, and whole organisms by forming complex individual structures with dimensions of 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 nm and larger. Proteins assemble into the casein micelles of milk, which aggregate to form the curd of cheese; proteins and ribonucleic acids assemble into ribosomes, the machinery for building proteins; lipids and proteins assemble into cell membranes, the external barriers and internal surfaces of cells; proteins and DNA wind up into chromosomes, the carriers of the genetic code; and so on.
Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that applies the theories and methods of physical sciences, especially those of physics, to the study of biological systems. Biophysicists have contributed significantly to the understanding of life sciences. For example, the discovery of the structure of the DNA double helix was attributed to Professor Francis Crick (co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1962) who was a physicist by training. More recently, physicist Sir Peter Mansfield won the Nobel Prize in Medicine (2003) for discoveries concerning magnetic resonance imaging. Such studies can be divided into these different areas of interest:
Objective of Minor Programme in Biophysics
The primary objective of this programme is to educate and train students with the core knowledge of physical sciences to tackle biological problems. Biophysics students will learn the fundamentals of biology and physics to prepare them for further studies at an advanced level. These students will be capable of meeting the challenges of modern-age biophysics, and will be able to carry out independent or collaborative research work. Students equipped with the Minor in Biophysics will gain an advantage in their challenging careers in research, academia and industry related to the high value-added and knowledge-intensive Life Sciences industry.
Curriculum Structure and Requirements
The Biophysics Minor Programme is jointly offered by the Department of Physics and the Office of Life Sciences for students matriculated in and after AY2006/07. To be awarded a minor in Biophysics, the students are required to pass six modules (24 MCs), of which not more than two modules may be Level-1000 modules and three essential modules namely PC2267 (Biophysics I), PC3267 (Biophysics II), and LSM3243 (Molecular Biophysics) must be included.
Students of ANY major may read the Biophysics Minor, including Physics and Life Sciences majors. To be awarded a minor in Biophysics, the following are the requirements:
For students undertaking major in Life Sciences
For students undertaking major in Physics
For students not undertaking major in Life Sciences or Physics