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Home > Research > Biophysics


Research in a broad range of topics in biophysics is carried out by Marcelo Gleiser from the Department of Physics and Astronomy and by Brian Pogue from the Thayer School of Engineering.

Marcelo Gleiser -- Department of Physics and Astronomy

Astrobiology is the scientific study of the origin of life and of the possibility that life exists elsewhere in the universe. As such, it's an inherently interdisciplinary field, combining tools from physics, astronomy, biology, and earth sciences. At the Department of Physics and Astronomy, research focuses mostly on questions related to the origin of life on Earth and possibly other planets and moons. In particular, we develop theory and computer models describing how simple chemical reactions that took place in primitive Earth evolved to bridge the gap between nonlife and life. Our research combines techniques from statisical and nonlinear physics with nonequilibrium physical chemistry, informed by findings in astronomy and the earth sciences. For more information, contact Prof. Marcelo Gleiser.

Development of homochiral protocell-like structures from evolving chemical reactions in noncatalytic peptide models.

Brian Pogue - Thayer School of Engineering

Imaging the proteins that cause the human body to function is exceptionally difficult, and yet being able to image molecular function in diseased tissues such as cancer would fundamentally change the paradigm of how disease is detected and treated in health care. Our research is focused on developing the tools for imaging molecular function in vivo, and combining them with traditional imaging tools such as x-ray, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Success in this area requires the development of new hardware tools, customized image reconstruction software, and testing the use in pre-clinical and clinical trials. All of these areas are being advanced in our lab, towards realization of this new paradigm of molecular imaging in vivo.

Tumor as imaged with ultrasound, and then overlayed with the molecular image of fluorescence showing mitochondrial activity in the tissue (image courtesy of Josiah Gruber, MS candidate, 2009).

Recent Publications

Marcelo Gleiser and Sara Walker, The Chirality of Life: From Phase Transitions to Astrobiology, in press, Int. J. Mod. Phys. D. [arXiv: 0811.1291]
Marcelo Gleiser and Sara Walker, An Extended Model for the Evolution of Prebiotic Homochirality: A Bottom-Up Approach to the Origin of Life, Orig. Life Evol. Biosph. 38, 293-315 (2008). [arXiv:0802.2884]
Davis, S. C., Springett, R., Leussler, C., Mazurkewitz, P., Tuttle, S., Gibbs-Strauss, S. L., Jiang, S., Dehghani, H., Pogue, B. W., Paulsen, K. D. "Magnetic resonance-coupled fluorescence tomography scanner for molecular imaging of tissue" Review of Scientific Instruments 79, 064302 (2008).
Bruce J. Tromberg, Brian W. Pogue, Keith D. Paulsen, Arjun G. Yodh, David A. Boas, Albert E. Cerussi "Assessing the future of diffuse optical imaging technologies for breast cancer management" Medical Physics 35(6) 2443-2451 (2008).