Rice University


Center for Theoretical Biological Physics


The Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) is one of ten Physics Frontiers Centers established by the Physics Division of the National Science Foundation Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS). CTBP is also sponsored by the Division of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB). Additional support  comes from the  Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the Division of Materials Research (DMR). 

CTBP represents a collaboration between researchers at Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston, and is housed on the campus of Rice University, Houston, Texas.

CTBP encompasses a broad array of research and training activities at the forefront of the biology-physics interface. Research within CTBP focuses on the following broadly defined areas:


Eshel Ben-Jacob Passes

We are very sad to inform you that Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob has passed away. The Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) has lost a friend, a leader and a mentor.

It is with profound grief that we announce the un-timely passing of Eshel Ben-Jacob, our colleague and friend. Eshel has long been one of the mainstays of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics and has forever touched the hearts and minds of all its participants. His distinguished career combined truly innovative approaches to science with true dedication to his many colleagues and students. He already is and will continue to be sorely missed.

Eshel has been part of CTBP since its creation and has been part of our lives for many years. We will all miss him greatly but his legacy and memory will stay with us forever.

-José Onuchic and Herbert Levine



Research Opportunities

2015 Postdoctoral Fellowships in PoLS

We are actively recruiting quantitative science (physics, mathematics, chemistry, etc.) Ph.D. graduates for postdoctoral positions beginning in 2015. We are looking to fill several positions with postdoctoral candidates that are well-versed in quantitative science, but who are very interested in learning and tackling research problems in the realm of biology and medicine. Previous experience in working on living systems may be beneficial, but is not necessary. CTBP postdoctoral scholars will participate in leading-edge research with world-renowned faculty and at the same time will be provided opportunities to expand career-enhancing skill sets (grant writing, teaching, mentoring undergraduate research students/projects, etc.) CTBP postdoctoral scholars will also share in unique opportunities to gain hands-on experience in biological techniques while working closely with experimental scientists. An initial review of applications will begin in early February 2015, but applications will continue to be reivewed until all postitions are filled. Learn more...

2015 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Physics of Cancer

Dr. Herbert Levine, co-director of the CTBP, is looking for postdoctoral researcher to start in late summer or early fall 2015. This postdoc will take part in a collaboration on modeling the spatial organization of cancer tissue, focusing on breast cancer data (both in vivo and in 3D culture) regarding the dynamical interplay of different types of cells (normal vs. malignant, infiltrating immune cells, cancer-associated fibroblast) comprising a tumor. Relevant background includes a Ph.D. in biological physics or a closely related discipline, experience in spatiotemporal dynamics, and a desire to learn the relevant biology. Learn more...

NSF Renews Grant for Biological Physics Research at Rice

The Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice University has received a five-year, $11.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation to continue its research into how interactions at the atomic scale relate to the behavior of cells and their communities.  Read more…

From left: Herbert Levine, Eshel Ben-Jacob, José Onuchic and Peter Wolynes.
Photo by Jeff Fitlow.



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