To the best of our current understanding, quantum physics underlies all material phenomena. Quantum mechanics has been successful in describing the properties of atoms, molecules, and their reactions, yet its role is not immediately apparent in the properties of most macroscopic or complex systems. Quantum Biology represents a frontier of opportunity for novel perspectives on biological systems to explain functional mechanisms that will impact fundamental scientific understanding, applications, and the advancement of humanity. A small number of salient examples are now under investigation, for instance: light energy harvesting in photosynthesis, charge transport, and animal navigation.
The UMass team seeks to develop opportunities in Quantum Biology through combined experimental and theoretical approaches. We will develop new instruments that merge high-resolution, fast spectroscopic techniques with high-resolution, fast microscopic imaging to measure quantum mechanical phenomena. We will develop new theory for the possibility of coherent phenomena in fluctuating, active, noisy environments such as the cell interior.