Aims and scope

Mission statement

The mission of Biophysical Journal (BJ) is to publish the highest-quality work that elucidates important biological, chemical, or physical mechanisms and provides quantitative insight into fundamental problems at molecular, cellular, systems and whole-organism levels. Articles published in the Journal should be of general interest to quantitative biologists, regardless of their research specialty.


BJ publishes original articles, letters, and perspectives on important problems in modern biophysics. Papers should be written to be of interest to a broad community of biophysicists.. BJ welcomes experimental studies that use quantitative physical approaches for the study of biological systems, including or spanning scales from the molecule to the whole organism. Experimental studies of a purely descriptive or phenomenological nature, with no theoretical or mechanistic underpinning, are not appropriate for publication in BJ. Theoretical studies should offer new insights into the understanding of experimental results or suggest new experimentally testable hypotheses. Articles reporting significant methodological or technological advances, which have potential to open new areas of biophysical investigation, are also suitable for publication in BJ. Papers describing improvements in the accuracy or speed of existing methods or extra detail within methods described previously are not suitable for BJ.

Papers are handled by an Editorial Board of more than 100 scientists who solicit reviewers with the requisite expertise. The Editorial Board is divided among the sections listed below, whose descriptions also serveto detail the scope of science published by BJ.

Genome biophysics and nucleic acids. This section highlights biophysical aspects of genome organization and their relation to cellular functions such as transcription, translation, development, and gene-regulatory mechanisms. Studies using experimental and computational techniques to investigate the structure, dynamics, function, and regulation of DNA, RNA, and their complexes with other molecules are also included. The section also publishes research studies on chromatin structural states, folding and function, and the dynamic organization of the nucleus.

Proteins. This section covers the biophysics of protein structure, function, and interactions. The emphasis is on molecular biophysics encompassing experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches.

Channels and transporters. This section covers mechanistic studies of the structure, function, and regulation of membrane transport proteins and signaling receptors. The emphasis is on studies that use experimental and/or computational methods.

Membranes. This section covers the analysis of the structure, organization, and function of artificial and biological membranes via state-of-the art experimental and theoretical biophysics approaches.

Molecular machines, motors, and nanoscale biophysics. This section covers biophysical studies of molecular motors (cytoskeletal and non-cytoskeletal), cytoskeletal assemblies, and muscle contraction and studies that use single-molecule tracking, force spectroscopy, and other nanoscale techniques.

Cell biophysics. This section covers work that furthers our understanding of molecular function and interactions within and between cells and elucidates how these mechanisms are regulated within the cellular milieu.

Systems biophysics. This section covers the analysis of collective properties in systems of interacting components, including biomolecular networks, organelles, tissues, organs, and whole organisms. Special emphasis is placed on studies that link multiple levels of biological organization, from gene sequence to nonlinear and network-level phenomena, such as pattern formation, metabolism, and signal transduction.

Reviews and biophysical perspectives (Invited Only). Reviews and perspectives cover topics of current interest in biophysics and are invited by the Reviews Editor in consultation with the Editor‐in‐Chief. perspectives are brief, cover topics of current interest in biophysics, and are intended to provide a unique perspective on the current state and future of a field; reviews have a broader scope and are intended to provide a critical overview of the current state and future of a field. Reviews and perspectives generally do not present new data but can offer fresh syntheses of the results in a field. These articles are typically written by authorities in the field and are directed to a broad range of scientists who wish to keep abreast of the best current research. Reviews should be ~10 published pages and Perspectives ~5 published pages, including figures and references.