This chapter illustrates the dynamic, evolving nature of molecular biophysics by providing perspectives on future prospects in three major areas: X-ray and neutron scattering, mass spectrometry, and therapeutic drug development. In all three areas, major advances in the biological sciences, development of powerful new experimental and computational tools, and urgent real-world challenges are driving rapid progress. These developments have enabled and encouraged biophysicists to focus increasingly on studying systems of various sizes and the interactions between their components, rather than simply on their isolated constituents. As the examples demonstrate, these interactions are often transient, and may occur in massive macromolecular complexes, between macromolecules, or between macromolecules and ligands. A diverse set of emerging and advancing technologies are likely to spur future developments. These include advances in methods that enable individual molecules to be studied at atomic resolution; high throughput methods, increasing automation, development of massive databases that allow comparison and analysis of data of many types gathered worldwide; and increasingly powerful computational methods that enable ever larger systems to be modeled at high resolution. Finally, the emerging field of synthetic biology will create exciting opportunities to create, explore, and manipulate the biophysics of novel systems.
KeywordsAdvances in computation Database development High throughput automation Macromolecular interactions Mass spectrometry Membrane proteins Single molecule methods Structural biology Therapeutic drug development X-ray and neutron scattering
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