Biophysics is the study of biological systems using techniques from physics, such as how plant cells transform light into energy.

Our biophysical laboratories are used by researchers, PhD candidates and some students in their final-year of undergraduate courses.

They use our equipment to study how the structures and functions of molecules change under different conditions such as light, separation and temperature.

They also analyse chemical and bacterial compositions, enzymes, genes and chromosomes to discover what they look like, how they move and how they interact with substrates.

Our biophysical laboratories are located in two buildings across campus: St Michael's Building and King Henry Building. 

Female student  on computer in biology lab

Equipment in our biophysical laboratories is used to research the structures and functions of molecules.

St Michael's Building has equipment including

  • Analytical Ultracentrifugation (Beckman XL-A) — used to spin and separate samples, creating a sedimentation coefficient that helps understand the shape and properties of samples
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance (BiaCoreT200) — used for kinetic binding by layering one sample over another to see how tightly they bind and how easily they detach
  • Plate readers — our two plate readers are used to test the absorption and fluorescence of up to 96 samples at once, and to detect differences in how they interact with light
  • Spectrophotometer — used to analyse single samples for their absorption in detail
  • Fluorescence Spectroscopy — used to analyse single samples for their fluorescence with great precision
  • Mutli-angle light scattering (SEC-MALS) — used to fire lasers into samples and see their refraction patterns to understand the look, shape and properties of samples
  • Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) — used to compare the expression levels in DNA sequences by amplifying certain molecules in a DNA strand
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) 1260 Infinity — used to separate, identify and quantify different molecular components in a mixture through pressurised liquid pumps

King Henry Building has equipment including

  • X-ray Diffractometer with Cryojet (Oxford Diffraction/Agilent) — used to understand protein structure and function by shooting an x-ray beam through crystalline samples
  • 600MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer with cryo-probe (Varian/Agilent) — used to obtain details about molecular structure and direct observation of chemical reactions 
  • Cartesian crystallisation robot — used to create and prepare trays of crystalline samples for testing

We also have facilities for growing bacteria and purifying proteins for testing. Confocal microscopes, atomic force microscopes and electron microscopes are also available for examining samples in different states and environments.

Where to find us

Biophysical laboratories

1st floor, St Michael's Building
White Swan Road
Portsmouth
PO1 2DT

Ground floor, King Henry Building
King Henry I Street
Portsmouth
PO1 2DY

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