The Department of Biological Physics was established in January 1964 by the decision of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences on the basis of biophysical search group, which was organized in 1962 at the Department of absorption of radio waves by initiative of V. Ya. Maleev and with the active support of A. Ya. Usikov, the first director of IRE (these events are described in the article by V. Ya. Maleev “How the Biophysics in IRE started and progressed” in the book “A.Ya.Usikov in memoirs”).


M.V. Keldysh and V. Ya. Maleev at the seminar in IRE, 1964

Initially, the group consisted of three people (physicists V. Ya. Maleev, Yu. A. Belov and biologist I. N. Todorov), and by the time of the formation of the department it increased to seven workers. In accordance with the decision of the Department of Biophysics establishment in 1964 and after the report of V. Ya. Maleev at the session of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1965, the Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics was granted with additional funds for the development of biophysical studies. This allowed to increase the staff of the department to 23 people in 1964-1966: young employees with physical and mathematical (Gasan A. I., Kashpur V. A., Semenov M. A.) and biological (G. A. Anohina, L. N. Blok, V. I. Gudzenko, A. A. Krasnitskaya) education joined the group. Only two of the staff had degrees: V. Ya. Maleev had PhD in Physics, and I.N.Todorov had PhD in Biology. In 1965 L. N. Blok defended her thesis and got PhD in Biology. The average age of employees at that time did not exceed 27 years.

During the existence of the Department there have been 75 workers in total, although the current staff has always remained at the level of 20 people (5). The “core” of the team composing of 10-12 people has been almost unchanged. Several workers (12 people) went abroad (USA, Israel, Germany, France, the Netherlands), some of the workers are now working in other institutions or commercial organizations.

For 41 years the department was headed by Vladimir Ya. Maleev, DSc., professor, laureate of the State Prize of Ukraine in Science and Technology. Since May 2005, Anna V. Shestopalova, Senior Research Fellow and PhD in Physics and Mathematics at that time, has been the head of the department.

Currently, the department has 25 employees: three doctors of sciences (prof. V. Ya. Maleev, prof. M. A. Semenov,  senior researcher A. V. Shestopalova); eleven candidates of sciences (senior researchers Gasan A.I., Kashpur V.A., Kolesnikov V.G., Bereznyak E.G., Glibitsky G.M, Duhopelnikov E.V., Boriskina E.P.; researchers Khorunzhaya O.V., Gladkovskaya N.A., Khmel N.V.; engineer Sukhanov O.S.); five junior researchers (Blyzniuk J.N., Miroshnychenko E.V., Khrebtova A.S., Zhitnikova M.Y., Pesina D.A.); three engineers (Bratslavskiy Yu. Kh., Minakova E.A., Egorov D.S.); three graduate students (Fomin A.V., Glibitsky D.M., Gerus A.A.). Employees of the department give lectures at the Department of Molecular and Medical Biophysics of V. N. Karazin KNU, supervise projects and dissertations. Due to these activities the department is constantly replenished with graduates of the Department of Molecular and Medical Biophysics V. N. Karazin KNU and postgraduates of IRE NASU.


The staff of the Department of Biophysics. Three upper rows contain workers who joined the Department in 1960-1970s, the other rows contain those who came in 1980-2000s. Three left pictures of the upper row are the photos of the very first employees: V. Ya. Maleev, Yu. A. Belov, I.N. Todorov.


10 years anniversary of the Department of Biophysics (1974), from left to right:  in the lower row Gudzenko V.I., Kashpur V.A., Shostenko A.Yu.; in the middle row Kateryna (cleaner), Krasnitskaya A.A., Anokhina G.A., Maleev V.Ya., Block L.N., Lanina V.A., Feldman E.E..; in the upper row Sechkin V.V., Gimpelevich B.G., Semenov M.A., Shchegoleva T.Yu., Gerasimov V.N., Gasan A.I., Vertelnik E.V., Bolbukh T.V., Suetova V.P.


The Department of Biophysics celebrates its 40-years anniversary (2004). From left to right, 1st row: Gasan A.I., Kashpur V.A., Lanina V.A., Semenov M.A., Maleev V.Ya., Shestopalova A.V., Kruglova E.B.; 2nd row: Kirichenko A.A., Dukhopelnikov E.V., Sechkin V.V., Bratslavskiy Yu.Kh., Khorunzhaya O.V., Anishchenko D.B., Miroshnychenko E.V., Boriskina E.P., Ermak E.L.; 3rd row Philipskiy A.V., Gudzenko V.I., Bolbukh T.V., Blyzniuk J.N., Gladkovskaya N.A., Bereznyak E.G., Glibitskiy G.M.

      The results obtained in the Department of Biological Physics during the first years of its existence allowed to formulate the main aspects of its activity, which were the study of the physical principles of structure and properties of important biological macromolecules: proteins and nucleic acids. Currently the main field of investigation is more specified: the mechanisms of the influences of biological active substances and electromagnetic fields of GHz and THz ranges on biopolymers, biomembranes, cells are now being studied. To carry out the research a complex approach has been developed in the department. It includes several experimental techniques (spectroscopy in the UV and visible regions, vibrational spectroscopy, piezogravimetry, EHF dielectrometry, differential scanning microcalorimetry) and computer modeling (quantum-chemical calculations, Monte Carlo methods, molecular docking and molecular dynamics). Using this approach complementary data on structural and thermodynamic parameters of biopolymers depending on changes in external conditions are obtained. By the early 2000s, employees of the department had completed a large series of studies. The analysis of the results allowed to formulate the general concept: water molecules are a necessary component of the structure of biological macromolecules and determine their stability and conformational dynamics.

    One of the trends in modern molecular biophysics is the prediction of drug action at the molecular level. The ability to determine the physical-chemical parameters of the interaction of these compounds with its biological target molecule becomes of great importance. At the present time at the Department the studies are performed to elucidate the physical mechanisms of interaction between nucleic acids and biologically active substances in water environment to determine the correlation between the physical parameters of the interaction in the DNA-biologically active substance system and the activity of the investigated compounds. Analysis of the entire set of results provides a detailed understanding of the molecular mechanisms of the biological activity of the compounds, and lets one formulating some recommendations for the synthesis of compounds with effective and targeted pharmacological action.