Ricketts (Biophysics '18) starts her doctoral program at UNC Chapel Hill for Fall 2020.

Shea Ricketts has been conducting research in Anderson’s lab since 2016. She starts her doctoral program (Biological and Biomedical Sciences) at University of North Carolina (UNC Chapel Hill) for Fall 2020.

Regan (Biophysics '18) is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University (Fall 2019).

Kathryn Regan graduated with a Biophysics major and Math minor degree in Spring of 2018. She first began working in Dr. Anderson’s lab in November of 2015, focusing her work on the dynamics of crowded and entangled DNA. She started her doctoral program (Biomedical Engineering) at Boston University for Fall 2019.

Dr. Bekele Gurmessa (PostDoc 2015-19) is an assistant professor at Bucknell University (Fall 2019).

Bekele Gurmessa received his PhD from North Dakota State University department of Physics in 2015. He then joined Dr. Anderson's lab as a postdoctoral researcher in 2015. He is currently working as an assistant professor at Bucknell University.

Dr. Robertson-Anderson organized a symposium on Soft Matter, held at USD, September 2019.

This is an annual program held at USD. More details are available "here".

Robertson-Anderson and Ricketts featured on KUSI 'Good Morning San Diego'

Robertson-Anderson and Ricketts (USD '18) were featured on local morning news show 'Good Morning San Diego' to discuss Robertson-Anderson's recently awarded Keck Research Grant and perform a demo using the non-Newtonian fluid 'ooblek'. They described the goals of the research grant to KUSI news anchors, and demonstrated how a simple mixture of cornstarch and water ('ooblek') can exemplify many of the key principles of the autonomous materials proposed in the grant. View the video clip "here". Related news stories can be found on "KNSD" , "SD Metro", and "SD Transcript".

Dr. Robertson-Anderson awarded a $1M Research Grant from the W.M Keck Foundation. Congratulations!

Robertson-Anderson, was recently awarded a Research Grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. The $1M award is for collaborative research Robertson-Anderson will conduct with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from University of San Diego, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Chicago, and Rochester Institute of Technology. USD undergraduates will play a key role in this cutting-edge research. The Keck Research Program aims to fund projects that are “distinctive and novel in their approach, question the prevailing paradigm, or have the potential to break open new territory in their field”. Robertson-Anderson and her team propose to create a revolutionary class of autonomous materials that can perform motion and work by harnessing biologically-derived molecular components. Specifically, the team will fuse the skeletal proteins from cells with circadian clock proteins to engineer a suite of tunable materials that can autonomously stiffen and soften. This revolutionary approach to materials engineering has the potential to create an entirely new class of “living” materials that can not only intelligently respond to external signals, but also anticipate future demands. For more information on Robertson-Anderson’s award and the Keck Research Program read the following "press release" and visit the "W. M Keck Foundation website".

Dr. Robertson-Anderson was awarded an NIH R15 grant to develop technology to investigate DNA transport in cellular environments


Ricketts (Biophysics '18) was awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention

Shea Ricketts has been conducting research in Anderson’s lab for her research on actin-microtubule composites

Dr. Robertson-Anderson awarded Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation Collaborative Innovation Award for her proposed "Molecules Come to Life" Scialog research

As a Research Corporation and Gordon and Betty More Foundation “Molecules Come to Life” Scialog fellow Dr. Robertson-Anderson has been collaborating with Dr. Jennifer Ross (UMass Amhest) and Dr. Michael Rust (University of Chicago) on an innovative research project to design an Artificial Motile Tissue through Self-­Organized Rhythmic Contractility.

Gorczyca (USD '16) was awarded APS Apker Award for outstanding undergraduate research

USD Biophysics major Stephanie Gorczyca (‘16), conducted research in the Anderson lab for 3 years. Her research focused on the dynamics of crowded DNA. She was one of 2 undergraduates nationwide who was awarded a prestigious American Physical Society LeRoy Apker Award in 2016. She will present her research and receive her award at the 2017 APS March Meeting. visit here

Dr. Robertson-Anderson awarded USD Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor of 2015

Anderson was named Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year at USD in 2015. Two of her senior research students, Gorczyca and Weigand, nominated her.

William received a third place poster prize at APS 2016. He has also been accepted into Arizona State University to pursue his PhD in Material Science

March, 2016

Weigand received a third place poster prize for his presentation titled "Active microrheology reveals molecular-level variations in the viscoelastic properties of Chaetopterus mucus" presented by the Division of Biological Physics (DBIO) at the APS March Meeting 2016. For this success Weigand received a cash prize as well a recognition on the APS DBIO webpage visit here

Weigand will be attending graduate school at Arizona State University and will pursue a PhD in materials science. His tuition and stipend will be covered by a Dean's Fellowship given to the top applicants to the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. Will will have financial support for 4 years and will conduct research on materials for harnessing solar energy.

Stephanie has been accepted into the top DDS/PhD programs in the nation at UCLA and UCSF

Stephanie has been accepted into the top DDS/PhD programs in the nation at UCLA and UCSF. She hopes to advance the dental field by studying stem cells in order to determine how to regrow teeth, bone, and tissue. Her experience in the Anderson Lab is what cultivated her love for research. In the future, Stephanie plans to continue her research and teach students and professionals about her findings so others can learn from her discoveries. Her passion for learning, teaching, and people has led her on this incredible adventure and she is very excited to see where this path takes her.

Dr. Robertson-Anderson Receives NSF CAREER Award, Welcomes New Post-Doc Researcher

October 9, 2012

Dr. Anderson receives $500K NSF CAREER Award to investigate stress-strain relationships in actin networks using single-molecule biophysics techniques. A new postdoctoral researcher, Tobias Falzone, has recently joined the Anderson lab to work on this exciting new project. To read more about the NSF CAREER Award program click here. To read the USD press release regarding this award click here..

Dr. Robertson-Anderson Lab Undergraduate Researchers Featured in Inside USD

October 9, 2012


Savanna Blair ‘15 and Jonathon Collom Valdivia ‘17 are featured in Inside USDThey wrote a reflection about their summer research in the lab. .

Dr. Robertson-Anderson Invited to Speak in "Frontiers of Science" Seminar Series

October 9, 2012


Dr. Robertson-Anderson recently visited Cal State San Marcos to give a lecture in the "Frontiers of Science" seminar series. Click here to read a news article on the lecture.

Dr. Robertson-Anderson Receives an AFOSR Young Investigator Program Award

January 11, 2012


Dr. Anderson was recently awarded an AFOSR Young Investigator Program Award to investigate the molecular dynamics of complex entangled DNA blends using novel single-molecule biophysical techniques. Click here for more information about the award. To read USD's feature story on the award, click here.

Kent Lee Awarded Alice B. Hayes Scholarship

January 9, 2012


Kent Lee was recently awarded USD's Alice B. Hayes Fellowship to provide funding for his research experience Summer 2012. To learn more about the Alice B. Hayes Science Fellowship, click here.

New Major at USD: Biophysics

June 20, 2011


What is Biophysics?

Biophysics is a truly interdisciplinary research field that applies physics concepts, techniques and approaches to biological and biochemical systems and processes. Our research is a great example of molecular biophysics and biomaterials research. However, the field of biophysics is vast and researchers explore everything from neurological functions and processes, to cellular mechanics, to protein folding, to fluid dynamics. As the biological world is so vast, with millions of interactions and processes occurring every second inside our bodies and in the world around us at length scales ranging from nanoscale to the size of the oceans, you can imagine the scope of research topics in biophysics!

Due to the complexity of the biological world, it is often hard to determine how anything really works by looking at the whole thing. For example a biological cell is over 1000 times smaller than a grain of salt yet there are thousands of processes and molecular players that all work in concert to control the cell – and that’s just one cell! There are trillions of cells in your body all with distinct functions and properties! What biophysicists do is break down these complex systems to study small controlled subsets of the whole to fully understand the physics underlying this small piece of the puzzle. We use quantitative and mathematical techniques to fully describe and understand each piece. By doing this, we can eventually solve the puzzle by putting together all the pieces. This approach, which utilizes the expertise of physicists, chemists, biologists and engineers, has made great strides in our understanding the biological world.

Why Biophysics?

Scientific research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary as scientists are discovering that each scientific discipline can offer a unique perspective on an issue, enhancing the knowledge base and techniques used in research. As such, molding future scientists who are able to blur the lines between scientific disciplines, apply knowledge gained in one discipline to questions in other, and successfully conduct interdisciplinary research is crucial to scientific advancement in the 21st century. In order to achieve this goal, a major shift in undergraduate STEM education is needed: from compartmentalization and traditional teaching techniques to innovative interdisciplinary courses and programs.

Over the past few decades biophysics has emerged as one the most vibrant and active research fields, while undergraduate science curriculum has remained stagnate. Meanwhile, a solid background in physics and mathematics is now widely recognized as essential for a future career in life sciences or medicine. In response to the importance and promise of interdisciplinary research, biophysics graduate programs have been growing rapidly to train future scientists in interdisciplinary research. However, programs struggle to find admits with sufficient undergraduate training, often requiring remediation in either physical or life science concepts and skills. Thus, now more than ever there is a need for interdisciplinary undergraduate biophysics programs to prepare future scientists.

The most successful undergraduate biophysics programs have experienced sustained and steady growth in the number of majors, and graduating biophysics majors going on to graduate or medical school are often ranked among the top in their graduate programs.

Details of the Biophysics Major at USD

The bachelor’s degree in biophysics at the University of San Diego, which was approved in Spring 2011, is an interdisciplinary major administered by the Physics Department designed to prepare students for a wide variety of career paths including graduate study in: biophysics, medical physics, biochemistry and chemistry. It is also superb preparation for any of the health professions (medical, dental, veterinary), or direct employment in the fields of biotechnology and biomedical industries following USD.

To read more about the scope and requirements for the biophysics major, visit the USD Biophysics Major website, or contact Dr. Robertson-Anderson, who serves as the Program Director for the major.