Biophysical Society Bulletin | June 2024

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June 2024


2024 BPS Elections Now Open Voting Is Open June 1 through August 1 The Biophysical Society is pleased to announce the 2024 slate of candidates for President-Elect, Treasurer, and Council. The two candidates for President-Elect are Henry Colecraft of Columbia University and Karen Fleming of Johns Hopkins University. The President-Elect will serve a one-year term, beginning February 2025, followed by a year as President, starting February 2026, and one subsequent year as Past-President, beginning February 2027.

Henry Colecraft

Karen Fleming

This year’s slate includes one candidate for Treasurer, Samantha Harris of the University of Arizona, and eight candidates for Council, shown below. The elected Treasurer will serve a four-year term beginning July 1, 2025. The four Council members who are elected will each serve a three-year term beginning February 18, 2025. Full biographical information and candidate statements are available at All Society mem bers, including students, with 2024 dues paid by May 30, 2024, are eligible to vote. Eligible members may vote electronically through August 1, 2024, by means of the secure site at The Society is indebted to the Nominating Committee for developing the slate of candidates. The committee members were Margaret Cheung (Chair), Erin C. Dueber , Gilad Haran , Kumiko Hayashi , Kandice Tanner , and Gail Robertson .


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President’s Message Biophysicist in Profile

Public Affairs Publications Member Corner Communities

Samantha Harris

Silvia Cavagnero

Theanne Griffith

Ryota Iino

Felix Ritort

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Career Development

In Memoriam

Important Dates

Renae Ryan

George Stan

Eric Sundberg

Da-Neng Wang

Stay Connected with BPS

President's Message

Your Membership Supports and Defines the Biophysical Society

In my first President’s Message column (March 2024), I articu lated as a priority for this year a return to a balanced operating budget. To maintain ongoing pro grams and continue to adapt to new challenges, this means that we must make up for losses we incurred during the pandemic. The

biophysicists ratified the Constitution and Bylaws of what we now know as the Biophysical Society. With this act, members took on a new identity, that of biophysicist! Over the past 67 years, BPS has stayed committed to its mission to lead an innovative global community working at the interface between physics and biology. It has grown to become the largest association of biophysicists across the globe, reaching a high watermark of ~9,000 members in 2010. This growth allowed the Society to expand its area of influence and develop programs in addition to the Annual Meeting and Biophysical Journal . Among the initiatives that help to make the Society more diverse, inclusive, and acces sible are the creation of tailored membership types and a regular evaluation of membership composition. Membership composition reflects our values. Five mem bership types support equitable access across career stages, geographical areas, and economic means. As of December 31, 2023, the Society consisted of 6,117 members, of whom only 2,920 were Regular members; Early Career (861), Student (1,967), and Emeritus (322) members combined made up more than half of the total. In addition, there were 16 Regu lar, 3 Early Career, and 28 Student members from developing countries. This distribution reflects our strong and consistent commitment to being an inclusive society. Geographic diversity. About 30% of members are non-US mem bers residing in 51 countries—mostly Europe (14%), Asia (9%), Canada (3%), and Mexico (1%), with the remaining 2% residing in South America, Australia and the South Pacific, Africa, and the Caribbean. Gender diversity. Membership is made up of 63% Men, 34% Women, and <1% Non-Binary, with 3% Undisclosed. Ethnic diversity. Self-reporting indicates that our membership is 45% Caucasian, 30% Asian, 6% Latino/Latinx or Hispanic, 3% Black or African American, 3% Middle Eastern, 1% Multi-Ra cial/Multi-Ethnic, <1% Native American/Indigenous/Alaska Native, and <1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, with the remaining 13% Undisclosed. Although we need to do more to improve representation and access, we recognize and prioritize this with our current strategic plan to foster a diverse and inclusive global commu nity and to invest in the future of biophysics. It is important to keep in mind that to continue to afford programming, support, and reduced membership fees for vulnerable categories of scientists and future scientists, we need strong participa tion from Regular members. Therefore, how accessible and

Gabriela K. Popescu

main revenue sources for the Society come from the Annual Meeting, membership dues, and royalties from the Biophys ical Journal . Given that each of these programs accounts for about one-third of our annual income, it is imperative that we secure the financial strength of all three. In last month’s column, I summarized how the Annual Meet ing takes shape, and how you can engage with the process. We continue to welcome your feedback and are pleased the Annual Meeting remains healthy, with attendance averaging about 5,200 over the past 15 years. In a future column, I will address how our publications program serves our mission and supports our bottom line. However, BPS membership has more value and significance than simply allowing for dis counted registration to the Annual Meeting or reduced publi cation fees in the Society’s journals. That is why this column is about membership, about the value it provides, and about its critical role in maintaining an active, vibrant organization. Membership defines who we are and what we do. BPS is a non-profit, member-based organization. This means that it works for the benefit of its members and any profit that it generates is reinvested to support its articulated mission. As such, its members are both supporters and beneficiaries; membership defines the size and identity of BPS and speaks for its value, strength, and vitality. The Society was born in 1958 as a spinoff from the American Physiological Society. This specialization was a natural result of two opposing forces. On one side was the unprecedented growth in quantitative tools stimulated by the war effort; on the other, the natural need for more focused interactions among the scientists who used and developed these tools to examine and serve life. The first meeting, held in 1957, at tracted about 500 scientists and aimed to determine “if there was such a thing as biophysics and, if so, what sort of thing this biophysics might be” (according to the published proceed ings of that meeting). It turned out that attendees identified enthusiastically with the new frankenword. They decided to initiate the process of creating a new, international, non-profit association that would advance and spread knowledge in bio physics. The following year, at their second Annual Meeting,

June 2024



President's Message

Officers President Gabriela K. Popescu President-Elect Lynmarie K. Thompson Past-President Taekjip Ha Secretary Teresa Giraldez Treasurer Samantha Harris Council Patricia Bassereau Margaret Cheung Martin Gruebele Taviare Hawkins Anne Kenworthy Syma Khalid Emmanuel Margeat Anita Niedziela-Majka Elizabeth Rhoades Tamar Schlick Valeria Vasquez Jing Xu Biophysical Journal Vasanthi Jayaraman Editor-in-Chief The Biophysicist Padmini Rangamani Editor-in-Chief Biophysical Reports

diverse we can be depends in large part on maintaining a healthy contingent of Regular members. A direct look at the data can inform our choices about what we can do to continue to support the global, inclusive community we aspire to be. Membership size fluctuates. Like many other non-profit membership organizations, BPS has experienced a clear decline in membership over the last several years. This trend likely reflects changes in how we all connect and engage professionally, as well as generational differences in identification with a particular group. Economic uncertainties, including ac cess to stable funding, the proliferation of sci entific meetings, and the outgrowth of more specialized groups, compete for our—always finite—resources and influence which associ ations scientists join and continue to identify with and support. An analysis of membership data reveals that the number of total members remained fairly stable between 2010 and 2014 at ~9,000, but has slowly declined since then, such that by 2020 it had experienced a 25% reduction. In 2021, when our Annual Meeting was virtual, membership declined precipitously to 5,400. Although it has increased since then (to 6,117 in 2023), we are yet to reach pre-pandemic levels. Importantly, the number of Regular members declined steadily from a high watermark of ~5,000 in 2010 to ~3,500 in 2020. Although numbers have rebounded from the lowest of ~2,600 in 2021, we were still only at ~3,000 in 2023. Given that our overhead increases with inflation and cost of living, to continue to offer the programs we have developed over the years, it is imperative to keep in mind that although membership size fluctuates with environmental pressures, our commitment to leading an innovative global community depends in large measure on maintaining a strong contingent of Regular members.

Let me be clear: BPS remains a healthy and vi brant organization due to a strong contingent of core members and unrelenting stewardship by Council and staff. And, I believe we can do more! Membership controls what we can do to support the global community. Although membership dues are essential to our financial health and sustainability at similar levels as our Annual Meeting revenues and Biophysical Journal royalties, membership size and compo sition control who we are and what we do to a much larger degree. Our membership, under the egis of BPS, has a wide sphere of influence. Members support the profession and the global community of practice, safeguard standards of rigor and ethics, and ensure its credibility with the public at large. Our members organize Thematic Meetings, student chapters, networking events, Sub group symposia, workshops, webinars, career panels, mentoring opportunities, education and learning resources, and more. Our members volunteer on our committees, establish policies and strategic plans, participate in governance, champion the discipline, advocate for funding from multiple federal agencies, promote bio physics globally, educate the public, and more. Our members define the profession. If you identify with the BPS vision, mission, and values and want to support and shape our strategic plan, our programs, and our activities, I encourage you—I urge you—to consider where you invest your most precious resourc es (time, attention, effort, and talents), and to continue your BPS membership, attend our meetings, and publish in our journals. Encour age your peers and trainees to join our global community! Together we can stand strong for quantitative, rigorous science to, as stated in the Society's strategic plan, “seek knowledge, improve the human condition, and preserve the

Jörg Enderlein Editor-in-Chief

Society Office Jennifer Pesanelli Executive Officer Newsletter

Executive Editor Jennifer Pesanelli Managing Editor John Long Production Ray Wolfe Meredith Zimmerman Proofreader/Copy Editor The Biophysical Society Newsletter (ISSN 0006-3495) is published eleven times per year, January-December, by the Biophysical Society, 5515 Security Lane, Suite 1110, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Distributed to USA members and other countries at no cost. Cana dian GST No. 898477062. Postmaster: Send address changes to Biophysical Society, 5515 Security Lane, Suite 1110, Rockville, MD 20852. Copyright © 2024 by the Biophysical Society. Darren Early Laura Phelan

planet for future generations.” — Gabriela K. Popescu , President

The Society provides access to over 175 Profiles in Biophysics (, featuring biophysicists from around the world. Each biophysicist has a unique journey. Discover the diverse paths that have guided them to the field of biophysics.

Numbers By the

Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

June 2024



Biophysicist in Profile

Jessica M.J. Swanson Area of Research Multiscale simulations and kinetic modeling of electrochem ically driven transport, lipid droplets, and methanotrophic methane oxidation

Institution University of Utah


Jessica M.J. Swanson grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, with a father who worked at the nearby national lab. Being surrounded by science and as the offspring of a scientist, she can’t say exactly where her love of science comes from, but it’s likely some combination of both influences. Either way, her passion and curiosity has led her to a career developing multiscale simulations and kinetic modeling.

Jessica M.J. Swanson

Jessica M.J. Swanson ’s father was a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, working in areas ranging from inor- ganic to bioinorganic chemistry. “He is the most curious man I know, and I love him for it,” she shares. “Some things run in the blood. Some are nurtured. My love for science could be a combination of the two.” She started her undergraduate studies at the University of New Mexico, where she had a soccer scholarship, but quick ly transitioned to the University of California, Davis, where she could still play soccer and could access more biochem istry major options. Swanson says, “I enrolled in undergrad as a biochemistry major, drawn to both the physical and life sciences, while also taking some additional physics and physical chemistry courses simply because I enjoyed them. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year that I was even aware of the domain of computational biophysics. I had a wonder fully curious and interesting professor teaching my physical chemistry course, Alexei Stuchebrukhov , who invited me to try some research in computational chemistry. I had no idea what that was. I naively thought it had something to do with data entry and that it would be terribly boring. I could not have been more wrong.” She recalls, “Alexei started me on a project exploring hydration properties in the proton pump cyto chrome c oxidase, a system I would eventually study enough to write a book chapter on it. It was wonderful—so intriguing. I knew then that I wanted to be a computational chemist, who used simulations to explain how things happen at the molec ular level, but I wanted to do it on biological systems. Enter computational biophysics.” After completing her bachelor’s degree, she took a year to try professional rock climbing while she applied to gradu ate schools. She states, “It was a good experience. I found non-academic life to be fun at first and then quite boring. So, I was more than ready by the time I started my PhD to return to it.” She did her graduate work at the University of Califor nia, San Diego, which she selected to work with Andy

McCammon . Swanson shares, “This was a good choice in the end. Andy is a wonderful leader, scientist, and person. He provided an environment that attracted good students and postdocs, creating a group I could thrive in.” Once she had completed her PhD, she received a Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship to work with Jack Simons at the University of Utah. “Jack was the third in a series of wonderful mentors,” she de clares. “In collaboration with the Gregory A. Voth Group, I was fortunate to be able to explore and learn a great deal about the domain of proton solvation and transport. Working with Jack, we used electronic structure calculations to quantify the degree of delocalization in the solvated excess proton and reactive MD [molecular dynamics] to revisit the process of proton pumping in cytochrome c oxidase.” Swanson worked at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago from 2010 to 2019, at which point she accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Utah. Her lab works on developing multiscale kinetic modeling methods for channels and transporters, using simulations to characterize the regulation mechanisms of the lipid droplet proteome, characterizing the folding propensity and design strategies for lasso peptides, and unraveling the limiting factors in the uptake and oxidation of methane in methano trophs to advance the development of bioreactors for meth ane mitigation. Her favorite thing about biophysics is the role biophysics researchers play in helping to solve societal problems by working together to unravel and explain fascinating and sometimes fundamental scientific questions. Swanson remarks, “Going forward, I’m excited to see an increasing powerful bridge between theory and experiment and a growing appreciation of how equilibrium descriptions form a foundation to understand how non-equilibrium behavior drives the processes we often want to describe.

June 2024



Biophysicist in Profile

I’m also hopeful that the artificial intelligence and machine learning revolution, which is a powerful force, will swing around to increase our fundamental physical insight and that the latter will not be lost to fancy models that work for rea sons that no one really appreciates.” The most rewarding part of her career is working with her students and, she adds, “My second-favorite part is when we find curious data that only partially make sense and we have to dig deeper into it—especially when that digging comes together to reveal some new biophysical insight.” Her biggest career challenge has been learning how to handle feedback. “I have learned to have thick skin and to interpret criticism constructively when it is warranted and properly categorize it when it is not,” she explains. “Through experience taking criticism personally, I have realized what a waste of time and energy that is.”

She considers biophysics her scientific home. Swanson notes, “It’s not well established at many institutions, but it is a community that bridges departments. The Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, Subgroup meetings, and Biophysical Journal are highly valuable gatherings of the biophysical community.” She continues, “I have met so many and learned so much through the Annual Meetings and the journal. I can’t imagine my career without them.” Outside of work, Swanson spends time with her two children (9 and 11 years of age), her husband, and their three-legged rescue dog, Rusty. “I’m also attempting triathlons…but they may have to wait until after tenure,” she jokes. Her advice for those just starting their scientific careers is to follow your passion and curiosity, “but don’t forget to look up to think through who you want to be—both on an everyday basis and ultimately when you look back at it all.”

BPS Sponsored Keynote at IUPAB 2024 Kyoto, Japan June 24–28, 2024

BPS is pleased to sponsor IUPAB Keynote Speaker Jerelle Joseph at the 21st IUPAB and 62nd Biophysical Society of Japan Joint Congress, June 24–28, 2024 in Kyoto, Japan. Joseph’s talk, "Accurate Models for Interrogating and Engineering Biomolecular Condensates," will be presented on Thursday, June 26. For the most up-to-date information about IUPAB 2024, visit https:/

Upcoming Networking Events

3rd Costa Rican Biophysics Symposium July 23-26, 2024 Heredia, Costa Rica Biophysics in Drug Screening

Virtual Networking Event: Building Bridges in Computational Biophysics v3.0 October 16, 2024

Zoom event, registration is free and will be required to attend Exploring Synthetic Biology as Avenue for Expanding Biophysical Research and Education in Africa October 25, 2024 Kakamega, Kenya To see more details for upcoming events, visit: https:/

September 16, 2024 Los Angeles, CA, USA Promotion of Quality Education and Research Outputs in Biophysics Through Universal Collaboration and

Peer Mentorship October 11, 2024 Kakamega, Kenya

June 2024



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Salary Increases Announced for Postdocs and Graduate Students at NIH On April 23, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that early-career scientist recipients of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards will receive a pay boost of $4,500 over their current salary level, or at least $61,008 per year. Graduate students will receive a $1,000 raise, bringing their minimum salary to $28,224. NIH also announced a $500 increase in childcare subsidies for early-career researchers who are parents. While these increases fall below the recommen dations of an NIH Advisory Group in December 2023, NIH has acknowledged the shortfall while citing the current, constrained budget environment as a factor.

Congress Requests Cost Analysis on Public Access Mandate When Congress passed the first of the two funding packages for fiscal year 2024 (FY24) on March 9, it included a provision calling for a financial report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) regarding its public access mandate. Specifically, the provision allows OSTP 100 days from the date of enactment to provide an analysis of the policy's anticipated impact on federal research investments, research integrity, and the peer review process, or else imple mentation of the memo will be paused until the report is sub mitted. The request seeks additional information relating to the August 2022 memo by then-Acting Administrator Alondra Nelson directing all federal agencies with research and devel opment expenditures of more than $100 million to develop policies to require that all publications resulting from funded research be made available to the public, free of charge, at the time of publication. Lawmakers have objected to the OSTP directed mandate since its release, with the House Appropriations Committee going so far as to attempt to prohibit implementation out right. The request for a comprehensive cost analysis was the compromise reached for enactment of the FY24 budget. The concerns raised by Congress are that moving toward a pay-to-publish model could disadvantage researchers from less-well-funded institutions and that the public access requirement could undermine researcher autonomy. Barring

any additional actions by Congress following the receipt of the financial report, all federal agencies that fund research are expected to publish public access plans that align with the Nelson memo by the end of this year and to implement them by the end of 2025. NSF Examines Research Security Protocols When the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) new Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile debuts next year, the NSF hopes to have new protocols in place to protect classified information from being disclosed without disrupting the basic research being funded by the agency. While NSF considered following the example of the Depart ment of Energy (DOE) to manage sensitive areas of research at the national laboratories, JASON—an independent group of scientists who advise the government—reviewed the breadth of research being conducted and issued an advisory report. The JASON report suggested that following a DOE model would be counterproductive for an agency that doesn’t fund classified research. Designating entire areas for special handling would reduce the number of scientists and institutions able to carry out the work, would increase costs, and also could slow progress in fields vital to the US economy. Instead, JASON has recom mended that NSF assess risk on a project-by-project basis

June 2024



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Around the World UK Adjustments to Visa Salary Thresholds Could Risk STEM Recruitment

instead of a subject-based matrix. At the time of writing, NSF is currently carrying out a pilot study to identify risks. The next phase will be to determine how to mitigate those risks and what the cost would be. Apply Now to Join the Next Cohort of BPS Ambassadors Are you an advocate for biophys

New changes to United Kingdom immigration rules may neg atively impact recruitment efforts for international scientific talent. At the end of April, the minimum salary that interna tional skilled workers must meet to obtain a visa was raised. In addition to the increased salary threshold, visa holders also will pay for access to health care and will face new restric tions on family visas. Previously, workers had to earn at least £26,200 to be eligible for the visa; in December 2023, the government announced this threshold would rise by almost 50% to £38,700—well above what many early-career researchers earn. The backlash that was created within the scientific community resulted in an adjustment in early April for STEM PhDs to set that threshold to £30,960. Many scientists will be able to sidestep the salary thresholds by applying for the relatively new Global Talent Visa. The visa can be granted to anyone—including research assistants and technicians—named on a grant from a long list of recognized funders. Students are also affected by new immigration rules: since January, holders of student visas have been unable to bring family members with them to the United Kingdom unless the visa holder is studying for a postgraduate research degree.

ics education and knowledge sharing? Have you considered applying for the BPS Ambassador Program to put those skills into action? The BPS Ambassador Program was developed to help make biophysics a more dynamic, inclusive, and interdisciplinary

Ambassador Program

community to better serve the needs of our international membership. Currently, BPS works with 12 Ambassadors— four-member cohorts serving three-year terms. For the next class of Ambassadors (2025–2027), we are ac cepting applications from all international members residing in countries outside of India, Japan, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay. An ideal country Ambassador is actively engaged in biophysics research and committed to remaining in the field for the duration of the Ambassadorship, is an active paid member of the Society in good standing, is able to attend the Annual Meeting at the start of their term, has working proficiency in English, and has a demonstrated ability to contribute to organizations or scientific societies outside of their normal job duties. Applications are due July 19. To learn more about the program, Ambassador eligibility, and benefits, please visit

The Biophysical Society is grateful to its Industry Partners.


For Industry Partner Membership information, contact SILVER

June 2024




Know the Editor Dmitrii Makarov

Editor's Pick

University of Texas, Austin Associate Editor Biophysical Reports

Dmitrii Makarov

What have you read lately that you found really interesting or stimulating (a paper, a book, science or not science)? Something I heard a week ago in a podcast with a cognitive scientist ( Edward Gibson ): the brain’s areas responsible for language are not really activated when we “think” (i.e., solve logical problems or do calculus). This suggests that, after all, large language models are probably not a replacement for hu man cognition, even though they can mimic it so successfully (sometimes). What a relief! Who would you like to sit next to at a dinner party (scientist or not)? I wish I’d had a chance to talk to mathematician Andrey Kolm ogorov . His work had an impact on me at every stage of my scientific life, starting with his book about mathematics that he wrote for high school students. In our current work, we often go back to his foundational work in probability theory and to the idea of Kolmogorov entropy. But what I would really have liked to ask him about is his unfinished work in which he used probability theory to analyze poetry. Grants & Opportunities AAAS Mentor Awards The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has a Mentor Award and a Lifetime Mentor Award, both honoring those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership to increase the participation of underrepresent ed groups in science and engineering. Who can apply: The award is open to all individuals who have mentored students at a US institution. Deadline: June 30, 2024 Website: https:/

Biophysical Journal Binding equations for the lipid composition dependence of peripheral membrane-binding proteins Daniel Kerr, Tiffany Suwatthee, Sofiya Maltseva, and Ka Yee C. Lee “The association of peripheral membrane-binding proteins with their target membranes is important in multiple physio logical processes. These associations can be highly sensitive to the lipid composition of the membrane, but quantitative characterization of this dependence has been difficult. The authors present a general model that quantitatively describes the lipid composition dependence of protein membrane bind ing. This model gives rise to a new notion of cooperativity specific for protein-membrane binding. The authors introduce the Membrane-Hill number to quantify this cooperativity and discuss its implications for lipid composition dependence in a variety of systems.”

Version of Record Published March 2, 2024 DOI: https:/

The Science and SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists This prize is awarded to a young scientist for outstanding life science research conducted for their doctoral degree within the past two years in Cell and Molecular Biology; Genomics, Proteomics, and Systems Biology Approaches; Ecology and Environment; and Molecular Medicine. Who can apply: Applicants must have received their doctor al degree in 2022 or 2023. Deadline: July 15, 2024 Website: https:/ ter-science-scilifelab-prize-young-scientists

June 2024



Member Corner

Members in the News

Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede , Chalmers University and Society member since 1999, was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede

Twelve BPS members were elected as American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows:

In the Section on Biological Sciences: Kevin Campbell , University of Iowa and member since 1979; Takanari Inoue , Johns Hopkins University and member since 2010; Mary Munson , University of Massachusetts and member since 2020; and Kristen Verhey , Uni versity of Michigan and member since 2008. In the Section on Chemistry: Christy Landes , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and member since 2009; and Benoit Roux , University of Chicago and member since 1984. In the Section on Engineering: Philip Leduc , Carnegie Mellon University and member since 1999; and Beth Pruitt , University of California, Santa Barbara and member since 2009. In the Section on Medical Sciences: Anne K. Kenworthy , University of Virginia and member since 1990; Gabriela K. Popescu , Universi ty at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York and member since 2002; and Luis Fernando Santana , University of California, Davis and member since 1995. In the Section on Neuroscience: Frederick Sigworth , Yale University and member since 1981.

Kevin Campbell

Takanari Inoue

Mary Munson

Kristen Verhey

Benoit Roux

Philip Leduc

Beth Pruitt

Christy Landes

Anne K. Kenworthy Gabriela K. Popescu Luis Fernando Santana

Frederick Sigworth

Student Spotlight Qi Wang

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology What do you think makes the study of biophysics unique?

I have been inspired by the interdisciplinary nature of biophysics, which is relevant to understanding fun damental biological processes, including gas and ion permeability through cell membranes. Biophysical studies also have the potential for practical applications, including new therapeutic strategies for diseases.

Qi Wang

June 2024




Clarissa Durie Committee for Professional Opportunities for Women (CPOW)

Clarissa Durie

Is this your first volunteer position for BPS? If not, what other positions have you held? Yes, this is my first volunteer position for BPS, and feels like a natural progression of my professional values and commit ments to our scientific community. Since starting my job as an assistant professor, I’ve served as a volunteer in various ca pacities, including with the Gibbs Conference on Biothermody namics. Throughout each stage of my scientific career, I have volunteered with programs and organizations that support women and underrepresented groups in STEM. Why do you volunteer? It’s important to me to “pay forward” the tremendous mento ring and support I have received. I am very fortunate to have had excellent PhD and postdoctoral advisors/mentors ( Aaron Lucius at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Mel anie Ohi at the University of Michigan, respectively). I’ve also benefited from the support of countless unofficial mentors and more senior colleagues, as well as peers. I want more ear ly career scientists, especially women and underrepresented minorities who face additional systemic challenges, to receive this kind of support, too, and to remain in STEM and keep pro gressing up their own career trajectories. Volunteering with the Committee for Professional Opportunities for Women (CPOW) is one way I can help to contribute to that. There’s also the fact that the CPOW chair is a long-time scientific role model of mine, Karen Fleming ! What has been a highlight from your volunteer experience? I was surprised to find that the CPOW meeting during the BPS Annual Meeting was a blast! I don’t usually look forward to committee meetings and, since this was my first time,

I didn’t know what to expect. I was able to meet so many outstanding scientists whose work I already admired and learn about others whose work I wasn’t yet familiar with. For example, just a couple days before I was listening to Vera Moiseenva-Bell ’s talk during the Cryo-EM Subgroup session, then we’re in the meeting talking about shared scientific and community interests. This was in addition to the opportunity to be part of the process of developing strategies for profes sional opportunities for women (as suggested by the commit tee’s name)! Do you have advice for others who might be thinking about volunteering? Go for it! Another benefit of volunteering is that it gives you some concrete touch points in what, for me, can sometimes be an overwhelming Annual Meeting. BPS has so much great programming going on during the meetings, it can be hard to figure out what to prioritize, and it can be difficult to meet colleagues and grow your professional network organically. Being part of a committee helps with both of those challeng es. You go to the meeting with some defined responsibilities and calendar events and have a smaller subset of scientists with similar interests who you can get to know better through shared goals. When not volunteering for BPS, what do you work on? I started my research group at the University of Missouri about two years ago. I am so proud of my growing team, hard at work bringing biophysical methods including cryo-EM and enzyme kinetics to scientific questions that have long been studied by cell-based assays. Since I’m still fairly new to the area, I’ve been trying out various hobbies including a rowing gym, trivia, adult ballet classes, and the occasional karaoke night! BPS On-Demand Resources Explore a library of on-demand webinars and videos with exclusive content to boost your knowledge and skills. ondemand

June 2024




Gratitude for Our Volunteers The Society would like to express our gratitude for the outgoing committee members listed below for their time, participation, and expertise. These volunteers have made a tremendous impact and difference within the Biophysical Society and the bio physics community. Thank you again—your efforts are truly appreciated! Awards Committee Jonathon Howard Timothy M. Lohman Committee for Inclusion and Early Careers Committee Francisco N. Barrera Robert K. Nakamoto

Public Affairs Leah Cairns Luyi Cheng Edward H. Egelman Steven Moss Michael Rudokas Eric J. Sundberg Elmer Zapata-Mercado Publications Committee Carlos R. Baiz Kathleen B. Hall Diego Krapf Waldemar Kulig Daumantas Matulis

Jennifer L. Ross Harpreet Singh Ragothaman M. Yennamalli Education Committee Liskin Swint-Kruse Fellows Committee Mauricio Montal Ruth Nussinov Membership Committee

Diversity (CID) Anna N. Bukiya

Stephen Jett Vivian Onyali Committee on Professional Opportunities for Women (CPOW)

Kasper B. Hansen Michaela Jansen Hong Li Emily Liman Leslie M. Loew Vera Moiseenkova-Bell David Piston Kenton Swartz

Melanie J. Cocco Seda Kocaman Alla S. Kostyukova Roger Bryan Sutton David V. Svintradze Manuela Zoonens

Call for Thematic Meetings Seize the chance to organize a meeting on a topic close to you, with administrative support from the Society. Three to four Thematic Meetings will be selected on focused topics that have not been recently presented. The Society under writes each meeting up to $10,000 and provides complete meeting management, including all web and onsite components. What makes these meetings unique from other small meetings is that they bring together researchers from disparate dis ciplines to work on a common problem, which is what biophysicists do. Thematic Meetings have taken place throughout the world, reaching communities that often cannot attend the Society’s Annual Meeting. Criteria for BPS Thematic Meetings are: • Organizers must be Society members; • Topics must be timely, not recently addressed, and should foster interdisciplinary and international research; • Each must be a standalone meeting, not a satellite meeting that already meets periodically; • Speakers must present new and exciting research; • The proposed list of speakers must represent the geographic, gender, and ethnic diversity of Society membership; and • International sites are recommended. Only complete proposals submitted through the online submission site (https:/ will be considered by the Thematic Meetings Committee. Previous and upcoming Thematic Meetings can be viewed at Submission deadline for proposals is Tuesday, July 16, 2024.

June 2024




Spotlight on Subgroup Awards Did you know that, in addition to Society Awards, there are 18 awards sponsored by our Subgroups? Student Bioenergeticist Award , given to an outstanding master’s or graduate student working in the bioenergetics field. Young Bioenergeticist Award , given to an outstanding post doc or young principal investigator working in the bioener getics field. Gregorio Weber Award for Excellence in Fluorescence Theory and Applications , honoring distinguished investiga tors who have made significant and original contributions to the advancement and applications of fluorescence tech niques. Young Fluorescence Investigator Award , given to an outstanding researcher at the beginning of their career for significant advancements and/or contributions in or using fluorescence methodologies. Student Award in Biological Fluorescence , given to an outstanding master's or PhD student who has recently made a significant contribution to our research community, for example, by a first scientific paper with a focus on exper imental or theoretical approaches with fluorescent probes and/or fluorescence techniques used in biophysical sciences. Biopolymers in Vivo Young Faculty Award , intended to boost the visibility of an emerging faculty member whose research and recent achievements focus on cutting-edge investigations of biomolecular processes in living organisms. Kenneth S. Cole Award , given to one or more investigators in the field of membrane biophysics in recognition of their research achievements as well as their potential for future contributions. The June Almeida Award for Mid/Senior-Career Women in Cryo-EM , recognizes a mid/senior-level woman in the field of cryo-EM who has made significant contribu tions during her independent career. Intrinsically Disordered Protein Postdoctoral Award , which honors an outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow for their research accomplishments during their career.

Mechanobiology Early Career Award , recognizing a young principal investigator who has made outstanding contri butions to the way we understand how mechanics shape molecular and cellular processes. Sir Bernard Katz Award for Excellence in Research on Exo cytosis and Endocytosis , bestowed on an investigator who has made a substantial contribution to our understanding of exocytosis and endocytosis. Thomas E. Thompson Award , recognizing an outstanding contribution in the field of membrane structure and func tion. Motility & Cytoskeleton Early Career Award , which rec ognizes significant contributions to the field of motility and cytoskeletal research and boosts the visibility of early career investigators. Physical Cell Biology Early Career Award , given to an out standing postdoctoral researcher or young principal inves tigator working to understand the functioning of biological systems from a physical perspective, from single molecules in individual cells to whole living organisms. Physical Cell Biology Student Award , recognizing a mas ter’s or PhD student who has just made their first significant research contribution to understanding how cells work from a biophysical perspective. Early Career Award in Single-Molecule Forces , Ma nipulation, and Visualization , which recognizes a young principal investigator who has made significant contribu tions to the advancement and application of single-molecule techniques. Theory & Computation Award for Early Career Scientists , recognizing an outstanding scientist in the first five years of their first independent appointment, in the field of theory and computation in biophysics. Theory & Computation Award for Mid-Career Scientists , recognizing an outstanding scientist in the first 15 years of their first independent appointment, in the field of theory and computation in biophysics. To learn more about each award and to apply, visit

June 2024



Join the BPS PUI Network Are you looking to connect with other PUI faculties or interested in obtaining academic positions at Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUIs)? Join the BPS PUI Network. The network creates opportunities for current PUI faculty to network and share experiences with one another. Members of the Network exchange tips and ideas such as teaching strat egies, latest trends in education technology, online teaching, and more. Graduate students and postdocs interested in obtaining academic positions at PUIs are encouraged to join. Questions can be directed to Ethan Rogers-Yosebashvili at

Upcoming BPS Webinar

Postdoc to Faculty Q&A Session Are you looking for practical advice on how to make the transition from a postdoc to a faculty position? Join this virtual session on July 25 for an interactive Q&A session with biophysicists at various stages of their careers who have gone through this transition. This session will prepare you for conducting job searches, interviewing, negotiating, moving, starting labs, teaching, and getting the publications, grants, and reputation you will need for success in academia. This webinar is free for members and only $15 for non-members. To register, visit

25% Discount on Author Publication Charges for Research Articles and Reviews Submitted from May 1 through June 30 Submit to the Biophysical Society’s high quality, forward-looking gold open access publishing option! Biophysical Reports publishes in all disciplines encompassed by biophysics, with a particular emphasis on methods and techniques, as well as concepts and ideas that present major conceptual advances or represent new views on existing data and results. The journal provides a venue for papers that are written for specialists as well as those written for the broader biophysics community. At Biophysical Reports , open means rigorous, accessible, concise, and fast!

June 2024



Career Development

What Should I Do about Very Negative Reviewer Comments on My Paper? Congratulations on submitting your

Reviewers vary widely in their backgrounds and opinions. This can lead to all sorts of feedback, from reasonable suggestions to more unusual requests. For instance, a reviewer might insist you use a specific method they prefer, or complain that your work isn't relevant enough to biology, or ask for a ton of extra experiments. It can even get personal, which is not ideal. Normally, editors filter out any inappropriate personal comments, but it doesn't always happen. If you encounter a harsh personal critique, don't take it too personally. Instead, focus on responding politely and confidently. Work with your principal investigator (PI) or colleagues to craft a strong, professional rebuttal to each point. Use references from other experts to back up your arguments and show the editor why the reviewer's criticisms can be overcome. Remember, your goal is not to convince the reviewer, but to persuade the editor that your work stands up to scrutiny. The editor might even de cide not to use that reviewer again, but it's not guaranteed. Together with your PI, you can surely tackle this hurdle and get your paper published. Do not take these negative comments too seriously. Navigating feedback is a fundamental part of scien tific progress and this can include both negative and positive feedback. It is not uncommon for one reviewer to think a paper is fantastic while another harshly criticizes it (based on their per spective, of course!). Fingers crossed for more favorable reviews next time! — Molly Cule

paper! This is always an exciting thing to do. At the same time, I am sorry to hear that you received negative feedback from a reviewer, but don’t let that shake your confidence. Unfortunately, negative feedback is not uncommon in the peer review process. Indeed, it is somewhat baked into the

cake, if you will. However, the way that this feedback is given varies a lot. While there are some expected standards, sadly not all reviewers will follow them. Most people agree that peer review should focus on the science in the paper and that the main task of the reviewer is to check that the statements in the paper match the presented data: that is, whether the science in the paper is consistent with obtained data and the literature. A personal attack on the authors or an overly subjective com mentary should be avoided. However, this still happens. Some times, when papers are reviewed, it can be a bit unpredictable.

Young Scientists Receive Biophysics Award at Science Fairs

The Biophysics Award, sponsored by the Biophysical Society’s Education Committee, is presented to high school students at regional and state science fairs across the United States. The award is presented to the student with the best biophysics- related project, as determined by local judges and BPS volunteers. Each student winner receives a monetary award of $100 and recognition from BPS for their outstanding achievement. The winning projects covered a wide variety of topics and subject areas, such as bioinformatics, equitable cancer detection, and veterinary procedures. In 2024, BPS was proud to present The Biophysics Award at the following fairs: • Anne Arundel County Regional Science and Engineering Fair • BCC/Rensselaer Region III Science and Engineering Fair • Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair • Hoosier Science and Engineering Fair

• Montgomery County Science Research Competition • Northeastern Indiana Tri-State Regional Science Fair • Northwest Science Expo • Prince George's Area Science Fair • Riverside County Science and Engineering Fair • San Luis Valley Regional Science Fair • Terra North Jersey STEM Fair

• California Science and Engineering Fair • Colorado Science and Engineering Fair • Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair • Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair • Georgia Science and Engineering Fair • Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair

The Society could not give these awards and encourage young scientists without the help of members who volunteer to judge. We are so grateful to the judges who give back to their local communities to share their passion for biophysics. For many students, presenting at a science fair might be their first time giving a science talk outside of an in-school presentation and it might be their first step towards a scientific career. Many shared their gratitude for the award and their pleasure at being able to present to real scientists in the field.

June 2024



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