There are several conceptual charaterizations for Biophysics, none of them implying a peculiar physics for biological systems. Here the adopted conceptual framework is that those concerned with teaching or researching in Biophysics conceive biological systems as complex physical systems and as those investigate them. Truly this is not their unique aptitude, and even the most renitent biophysicist aknowledge the emerging biological properties of the system under analysis.
The emphasis on Biophysics in this department arises from the work and influence of professor Francisco Lacaz de Moraes Vieira. At the early times of the department, professor Lacaz introduced the investigation of ion transport by epithelia, analysing the quantitative data on the grounds of the theory of Thermodynamics of Irrevesible Processes. The jointed influence of professors Lacaz and Gerhard Malnic led to the creation of an area of Biophysics in the department, purposely named of Physiology and Biophysics, of a discipline of Biophysical for the Medical School and to the creation of an area of Biophysics for graduate students in the MD/PhD program. The main intention of the founders was to grant the access to the department of competences others than biological and biomedical ones.
Presently professors Fernando de Moraes Abdulkader and Antonio Carlos Cassola have their main research lines concerned with biophysics. Professor Fernando, a former Professor Procópio’s student, is now in a research fellowship in England, interested in membrane ion transport evaluated by patch clamp technique. Professor Cassola is also interested in ionic channels in different cell phenotypes, analysing them directly by patch clamp technique and indirectly by the evaluation of the intracellular calcium activity changes with fluorescent probes and confocal microscopy