About the Laufer Center

The Laufer Center was established in 2008 in loving memory of Louis and Beatrice Laufer by their children, Helen Laufer Kaplan and Howard Kaplan, Jeffrey and Barbara Laufer, and initiated by a major philanthropic gift from Henry and Marsha Laufer. It was based on a vision by Henry and Marsha working with Professor Arthur Grollman, University President Samuel Stanley and Provost Eric Kaler. The goal was a graduate research center at Stony Brook University with a small core of endowed faculty who could become self-supporting through external research support. According to Chuck Vest, former president of MIT: Done right, donor-funded research centers are among the strongest ways modern universities can contribute to the long-term welfare of the society.


We opened in October 2010, when Ken Dill began as Director for a Center of research in Physical and Quantitative Biology. We moved into our current Laufer Center building in September 2012. With our current 3 core and 16 affiliated faculty across 9 departments, including the SBU Medical School and Cold Spring Harbor Labs, we are now a hub of activity at the interface between the Physical/ Mathematical/ Computer Sciences with the Life Sciences on Long Island. Those activities include a PhD program, a public seminar series, periodic retreats and various campus social events.


Our core research is in Principles of Cell Adaptation and Computational Molecular Biophysics. Our particular mandate is for deep dive solutions to math and physical underpinnings of problems of cells and biomolecules. For example, we have developed new methods of nonequilibrium statistical physics to understand cell adaptive forces in evolution and gene circuit functions; geometric inverse kinematics methods for fast modeling of protein loops; multi-dimensional Fast Fourier Transforms on rotational manifolds for protein -- protein docking; and Bayesian inference that melds external knowledge with computational molecular physics to accelerate protein modeling. We reach not only for principles and forces but also for applications, for example in drug discovery; see our website interface with Biopharma and on Covid-virus discovery.