The discovery of mode-locked laser operation now nearly two decades ago has started a development which enables researchers to probe the dynamics of ultrafast physical and chemical processes at the molecular level on shorter and shorter time scales. Naturally the first applications were in the fields of photophysics and photochemistry where it was then possible for the first time to probe electronic and vibrational relaxation processes on a sub-nanosecond timescale. The development went from lasers producing pulses of many picoseconds to the shortest pulses which are at present just a few femtoseconds long. Soon after their discovery ultrashort pulses were applied also to biological systems which has revealed a wealth of information contributing to our understanding of a broadrange of biological processes on the molecular level.It is the aim of this review to discuss the recent advances and point out some future trends in the study of ultrafast processes in biological systems using laser techniques. The emphasis will be mainly on new results obtained during the last 5 or 6 years. The term ultrafast means that I shall restrict myself to sub-nanosecond processes with a few exceptions.