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Biophysical chemistry is a physical science that uses the concepts of physics and physical chemistry for the study of biological systems. The most common feature of the research in this subject is to seek explanation of the various phenomena in biological systems in terms of either the molecules that make up the system or the supra-molecular structure of these systems.
Biophysical chemists employ various techniques used in physical chemistry to probe the structure of biological systems. These techniques include spectroscopic methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray diffraction. For example, the work for which Nobel Prize was awarded in 2009 to three chemists was based on X-ray diffraction studies of ribosomes. Some of the areas in which biophysical chemists engage themselves are protein structure and the functional structure of cell membranes. For example, enzyme action can be explained in terms of the shape of a pocket in the protein molecule that matches the shape of the substrate molecule or its modification due to binding of a metal ion. Similarly the structure and function of the biomembranes may be understood through the study of model supramolecular structures as liposomes or phospholipid vesicles of different compositions and sizes.
Biophysical chemistry journals include Biophysical Journal, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (published by Academic Press), Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (Academic Press), Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (Elsevier Science), Biophysical Chemistry, An International Journal devoted to the Physics and Chemistry of Biological Phenomena (Elsevier), Journal of Biochemical and Biophysical Methods (Elsevier), Journal of Biochemistry, Biology and Biophysics (Taylor & Francis), and Journal de Chimie Physique, Physico-Chimie Biologique (EDP Sciences and the Société Française de Chimie).
- Cantor, Charles R.; Schimmel, Paul R. (1980). Biophysical Chemistry - Part I: The Conformation of Biological Macromolecules (1st ed.). W.H. Freeman & Co Ltd. ISBN 0716711885.
- Cantor, Charles R.; Schimmel, Paul R. (1980). Biophysical Chemistry - Part II: Techniques for the Study of Biological Structure and Function (1st ed.). W.H. Freeman & Co Ltd. ISBN 0716711907.
- Cantor, Charles R.; Schimmel, Paul R. (1980). Biophysical Chemistry - Part III: The Behavior of Biological Macromolecules (1st ed.). W.H. Freeman & Co Ltd. ISBN 0716711923.
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