Center for the Physics of Biological Function | an NSF Physics Frontier Center

The Center for the Physics of Biological Function (CPBF), a joint effort between The Graduate Center at CUNY and Princeton University, is one of eleven Physics Frontier Centers established by the Physics Division of the National Science Foundation Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS). We are a collection of scientists working at the interface of physics and biology with the goal of creating a physicist’s understanding of living systems: a physics of biological function that connects the myriad details of life, across all scales, to fundamental and universal physical principles. Our center focuses on new scientific opportunities and educational programs, integrating theory and experiment, research and education.


Phase-separated liquid droplets (red) formed in a crosslinked chromatin network (white). Mechanical interactions with chromatin determine the size of droplets

Understanding the phenomena of life means understanding the emergence and integration of essential biological functions. 

Explore our Research


Two students looking through slides

A true unification of the physics of biological function requires educating a new generation of scientists.

Explore our Programs


Group of Research Fellows

We are searching for Center Fellows, both theorists and experimentalists. Applications for 2020 CPBF fellows are now open!

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Biophysics Seminar Series

Melike Lakadamyali: Super-resolution imaging of chromatin structure and dynamics

Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 12:00 pm
Location: Joseph Henry Room Jadwin Hall

Damon Clark: Mechanisms underlying visual illusions in flies

Mon, Dec 2, 2019, 12:00 pm
Location: Joseph Henry Room Jadwin Hall

Hana El-Samad: Biological Feedback Control

Mon, Dec 9, 2019, 12:00 pm
Location: Joseph Henry Room Jadwin Hall

ITS Symposium


Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 9:30 am
Location: The Graduate Center, Segal Theater. 365 Fifth Avenue, between 34th and 35th Streets, in Manhattan