Biophysics research at Cornell is cooperative, interdisciplinary, and occasionally even somewhat freewheeling. A biophysicist trained in chemistry collaborates with a materials scientist to discover why the molecular structure of a spider’s dragline silk makes it five times stronger than steel. Those researchers employ the same NMR and X-ray diffraction techniques used by the biochemists engaged in chemical prospecting to identify and isolate natural substances with potential medicinal value. Several researchers study cell membranes. One lab concentrates on the results that can be achieved with the technique of fast-chemical kinetics. Another group develops new optical techniques for imaging cells. Yet another examines
proteins, phospholipids and cholesterol in biomembranes. Energy transfer among proteins during photosynthesis is another group’s interest. And questions about signaling, or the flow of information between and among cells, figure in the work of several groups.