Matthew J. Comstock

Matthew J.  Comstock
  • Jerry Cowen Chair of Experimental Physics
  • Established through a gift from Randolph Cowen
  • Physics and Astronomy


Matthew J. Comstock, assistant professor of physics and the Jerry Cowen Endowed Chair of Experimental Physics, uses advanced, single-molecule measurement and manipulation techniques to observe fundamental processes in biology. His research led him to develop revolutionary optical tweezers, capable of observing in real-time both the structure and function of individual biological molecular motors at the angstrom scale. 

Comstock received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, where he focused on optically controlled molecular machines. Comstock did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, before joining the MSU faculty in August 2012.

Comstock’s leading-edge work has been published in the journal Science, as well as other top biological peer-reviewed journals. His work investigating RNA-processing protein dynamics with optical tweezers and single molecule fluorescence is currently supported by a National Science Foundation grant and the Cowen Chair.