Biophysics & Systems Pharmacology

Our graduate program in Biophysics and Systems Pharmacology provides cutting-edge training at the intersection between computation and experiments, to train you as part of our next generation of physicians and biomedical scientists. We facilitate discovery and development of chemical probes to study the pathophysiology of human diseases, aiming at new therapeutics and personalized medicine. We are a multidisciplinary training area in the PhD in Biomedical Sciences Program.

Biophysics is an established discipline that uses the principles and methods of physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and computation to address fundamental biological and biomedical questions, such as: “What are the structural determinants and molecular mechanisms underlying protein function and how can this information be used to design small-molecule modulators with exciting biological or therapeutic properties?”

Systems Pharmacology is an emerging interdisciplinary field of research in which we seek to translate molecular-level information on diseases and drug action into predictions of effects seen at the organismal level and across heterogeneous populations

Our personalized curriculum has been designed for our diverse student body, to help you obtain rigorous training at the junction of computation and experimentation. 


We welcome students from both traditional and nontraditional paths into the PhD program. Our students have undergraduate degrees in mathematics, physics, computer science, engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, pharmacology, genetics, and many other subjects. If you come to us with a more biological background, you will have the opportunity to obtain rigorous training in biophysical, chemical, and computational approaches to biological research. If yours is a more technical background, you will be getting your first sustained exposure to biological research during your PhD training at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. 

Students of our Biophysics & Systems Pharmacology training program are widely published early in their academic and professional careers.

Meet our current students and view their published studies

Meet Our Co-Directors

Jian Jin, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics. Dr. Jin’s laboratory is a leading group in discovering selective inhibitors of protein methyltransferases and functionally selective ligands of G protein-coupled receptors. To date, Dr. Jin has published >100 peer-reviewed original research papers and delivered >80 invited talks. He is also an inventor of 10 issued U.S. patents and 38 published PCT patent applications

Iban Ubarretxena, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Structural and Chemical Biology. Dr. Ubarretxena is an expert in the application of cryo-electron microscopy to study protein structure. His laboratory focuses on the structural biology of neurodegenerative diseases.

Meet Our Faculty
Meet the accomplished faculty members of the Biophysics & Systems Pharmacology Training Area. 


Explore the many areas of research that our faculty and students are active in.

We provide an educational environment in Biophysics & Systems Pharmacology (BSP) that fosters all the training you need to discover and design new drug-like molecules that can modulate the function of biological systems.

You will gain a thorough understanding of drugs and drug targets under investigation using a variety of approaches ranging from structural, computational, molecular, and cell biology to biochemistry and synthetic chemistry. As a student in BSP, you also gain a deep understanding of biological systems and disease states through training that emphasizes a quantitative, predictive understanding of physiology, pharmacology, organ-level research, and animal studies.

Technology-based approaches we use in BSP research laboratories include: X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, single-molecule imaging, chemical synthesis, proteomics, molecular modeling, bioinformatics, molecular dynamics simulations, mathematical modeling, next generation sequencing, cheminformatics, virtual screening, and other rational drug discovery methods.

We are extremely proud that many of our graduates find employment opportunities (several in the biotech industry and private sector, but also in academia, government, and others) even before completing a thesis defense.