Overview

From different, but complementary perspectives, and taking advantage of advanced specialized methods, the biomedical research disciplines of Physiology and Biophysics seek to discover, analyze and explain the functions of the human body’s building blocks: cells, tissues and organs. The availability of information from genomics, imaging, and proteomics, combined with the power of computational methods, has enabled entirely new approaches for making these discoveries and relating them to the most basic molecular mechanisms. Most importantly, these new approaches make it possible to integrate, in the research activities of the Program’s faculty, the findings from genetics, structural biology, and cell and molecular biology with principles and representations from physics and engineering. Together, they create a systems-level view of function in physiological components (e.g., from the cell to the heart, and from the neuron to the nervous system). This new integrative perspective, termed Integrative Systems Biology, complements and completes the study of structure and mechanisms of the body’s building blocks from their embryonic development to their mature function, in both healthy and diseased states. The Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology (PBSB) graduate program is designed to engage students in education through research in current and innovative aspects of these three synergistic components of modern biomedicine.

News

October, 2014:
Lauretta Lacko, a PBSB graduate student in Heidi Stuhlmann's lab, received the 2014 Outstanding Poster Award by a Graduate Student at the Developmental Vascular Biology and Genetics Workshop VI / Vascular Inflammation Workshop at Vascular Biology 2014 for her poster entitled, "Role of EGFL7 in endothelial and trophoblast cells during placental developmental and its association with Preeclampsia”.

September, 2014:
Dr. Christopher Mason was profiled in Popular Science as one of The Brilliant Ten of 2014, for his ongoing work in sequencing "the genes of everything from subway microbes to NASA astronauts to learn how the environment affects genetic code".

September, 2014:
Dr. Christopher Mason has been named 2014 Vallee Young investigator by the Vallee Foundation for his work in elucidating the dynamic functional heterogeneity of Acute Myeloid Leukemia hematopoietic stem cells during chemotherapy.

July, 2014:
Mike LeVine, a PBSB graduate student in Harel Weinstein's lab, received a Best Poster Award at the 3DSIG2014 Structural Bioinformatics and Computational Biophysics meeting for his poster entitled "NBIT: An N-body information theory framework for understanding collective motions in proteins".

October, 2013:

October 25, 2013 PBSB Retreat
Oral and Poster Presentation Award Winners

BEST ORAL PRESENTATION (Tie):
Sebastian Stolzenberg, PhD (Weinstein Lab)
Michael Wasserman, BS (Blanchard Lab)

  BEST POSTER PRESENTATION:
Pradeep Ambrose, BA (Rice Lab)
Tashalee Brown, BS (Christini Lab)

  POSTER PRESENTATION – Runners-Up:
Sheng Li, BS (Mason Lab)
Mattia Malvezzi, BS (Accardi Lab)

September, 2013:
Dr. Sheila Nirenberg was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her work on how the brain encodes visual information.

August, 2013:
Christopher E. Mason, Assistant Professor in Physiology and Biophysics, received an Excellence in Partnering award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for "exemplary contributions to a framework for quality laboratory integration of genome sequencing technologies into healthcare delivery."

July, 2013:
We join Weill Cornell's Dean Laurie Glimcher and Cornell University's President David J. Skorton in congratulating Dr. Scott Blanchard for his election to tenure in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, in recognition of his ongoing work in single molecule biophysics.

April, 2013:
Christopher E. Mason, Assistant Professor in PBSB Program, was featured in Reuters, Nature, Newsday, CBC news, Huffington Post, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and other media outlets for his recent paper on gene patents published in Genome Medicine and also for his work as a scientific expert on gene patents for the AMP v. Myriad Genetics case before the US Supreme Court.

April, 2013:
Sheng Li, a PBSB graduate student in Dr. Christopher E. Mason's lab, won a National Science Foundation Travel Fellowship and was invited to give a speech at the 17th Annual International Conference on Research in Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB 2013) held at the Tsinghua University for her paper on "An optimized algorithm for detecting and annotating regional differential methylation".

March, 2013:

March 15, 2013 PBSB Retreat
Oral and Poster Presentation Award Winners

BEST ORAL PRESENTATION (Tie):
Fang-Ke Huang, PhD (Huang Lab)
Steve Lianoglou, PhD (Leslie Lab)

  BEST POSTER PRESENTATION:
Mattia Malvezzi (Accardi Lab)

  POSTER PRESENTATION – Runners-Up:
Benjamin Burnett (Blanchard Lab)
Danielle Flood (K. Hajjar Lab)
Lauretta Lacko (Stuhlmann Lab)
Zachary Nichols (Nirenberg / Victor Lab)

Two Graduate Students working with PBSB faculty were awarded competitive graduate research fellowships: (1) Lenore Pipes, a graduate student in the Tri-Institutional Graduate Program in Computational Biology and Medicine, working in the laboratories of Dr. Christopher E. Mason and Dr. Adam Siepel, won a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship for her work on de novo transcriptome assembly and genome assembly. Her fellowship will last from 2013-2016. (2) Michael LeVine, a PBSB graduate student working in the lab of Dr. Harel Weinstein was awarded a National Research Service Award (NRSA - F31) to work on "Ligand-Specific Allosteric Modulation by Drugs of Abuse" for the next 4 years, starting June 1, 2013.

January, 2013:
Dr. Olivier Elemento was awarded a five-year Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award.

October 2012:
PBSB graduate student Jonathan Bourne from Dr. Peter Torzilli's laboratory won the Young Investigator Award at the First Annual Musculoskeletal Repair and Regeneration Symposium held at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

September 2012:
The Campagne laboratory was awarded the best poster award for "Compression of high-throughput sequencing data" at the Wellcome Trust's Genome Informatics 2012 meeting in Cambridge, UK.

May 2012:
Dr. Christopher Mason was featured in a two part profile by the New York Genome Center for his work on non-human primate genomics, gene patenting policy, and other activities.

May 2012:
Asif Rizwan, a PBSB graduate student in Jason Koutcher's lab, received the "Magna Cum Laude Merit Award" at the 20th Annual International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) conference for his poster on "Assessment of lactate in LDH-A silenced 4T1 tumors with selective multiple-quantum coherence transfer."

April 2012:
Benjamin Burnett, a PBSB graduate student in Scott C. Blanchard's lab, received the 2012 Vincent du Vigneaud Award of Excellence (Second Year Award) at the annual Symposium for his poster on "Kinetic Properties of Elongation Factor-Tu, GTP, and Aminoacyl-tRNA Ternary Complex from Escherichia coli."

Feb 2012:
Sayan Mondal, a student in Harel Weinstein's lab, won the Student Research Achievement Award at the Biophysical Society's 2012 Annual Meeting for his poster on the interaction of GPCRs with the membrane.

Oct 2011:
Sheila Nirenberg presented a talk, "Can we speak the language of the brain?", at the TEDMED 2011 conference. A Q & A session followed.

Apr 2011:
Randi Silver received a 2010 Individual Biomedical Research Award from the Hartwell Foundation for her research on "Mast Cells in Chronic Lung Disease in Premature Birth Infants".

Mar 2011:
Olaf Andersen received the Biophysical Society's Distinguished Service Award for his distinguished service to the membrane biophysics and physiology communities and to the field of biophysics through his work at the Journal of General Physiology.

Feb 2010:
At the 2010 National Biophysical Society Meeting in San Francisco, Dr. Crina Nimigean was awarded the prestigious Dayhoff award for her work on ion channel biophysics, and Helgi Ingolfson (in Dr. Olaf Andersen's lab) was awarded Best Poster in the Membrane Biophysics category in the Graduate Students competition.

Jun 2009:
PBSB graduate student Jonathan Bourne from Dr. Peter Torzilli's laboratory won 2nd Place in the Ph.D. student poster presentation competition (Tissue and Cellular Biomechanics and Imaging Category) at the 2009 Summer Bioengineering Conference held at Lake Tahoe on June 17-21, 2009. His presentation was titled Collagen Molecular Conformation Exhibits Strain-Rate Dependent Response to Axial Deformation In Silico, and involved modeling the force-induced deformation of a collagen molecule using steered molecular dynamic simulations.

Mar 2009:
PBSB graduate student Ameer Thompson from Dr. Crina Nimigean's Laboratory participated in and won the Student Research Achievement Award (SRAA) at the Biophysical Society's 53rd annual meeting held in Boston this year.

Sep 2008:
PBSB graduate student Ameer Thompson's paper 'Molecular mechanism of pH sensing in KcsA potassium channels' from Dr. Nimigean's laboratory, was published in PNAS [PubMed]

Aug 2008:
PBSB graduate student Ronit V. Oren's paper 'Acquired and Inherited Abnormalities in the Sinoatrial Node' has been selected as the best paper in the session 'Computational Pathophysiology of Cardiac Cells' at the 12th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI 2008), held in Orlando, FL this year.

Jul 2008:
PBSB graduate student Daniel Han's paper describing work done on his thesis project has been selected as an Accelerated Publication and Hot Article in the July 2008 issue of the journal Biochemistry. [PubMed]

Mar 2008:
We are proud to announce that Armen Kherlopian, a current graduate student in the Physiology, Biophysics and Systems Biology graduate program, was awarded the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship.

Feb 2007:
In a national ranking of graduate programs, carried out by the Chronicle of Higher Education, Weill Cornell's PBSB program was ranked #3 in Physiology and #10 in Biophysics. [Article]