The Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary program comprised of over 130 faculty from three colleges. Research interests of faculty on the CMB Graduate Studies Committee are quite varied allowing the program to offer focused study in any of seven research tracks:
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
Comprised of an interdisciplinary and collaborative group of researchers who are interested in topics that span all aspects of biology, biochemistry, biophysics and neurobiology. A distinguishing characteristic of the students in this track, in contrast with the students in the other Cell and Molecular Biology tracks, is the magnitude and sophistication of the computational component of their project. This includes but is not limited to - the analysis of large data sets, more exhaustive computational analysis, develop novel types of analysis, and write sophisticated computer programs to analyze their data. Interactions and collaborations with investigators from other CMB tracks, Biostatistics, and the departments of Computer Science, Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering are encouraged. Students who do well in this track frequently demonstrate individual initiative in generating and executing projects. Students are allowed to have more than one CMB mentor during their graduate careers to develop and implement interdisciplinary projects.
Zhang, Yan (Jessie)
Biomolecular Structure & Function
Research on how proteins and nucleic acids are organized, and their structure and function in cells. Using powerful techniques such as X-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy, as well as biochemical or biophysical methods, models of macromolecules and their properties are used to explain the molecular basis of catalysis, recognition and disease.
Cell & Developmental Biology
Research on the cell biology and development of animal, plant and microbial systems. Faculty affiliated with this track have a broad diversity of research interests including topics such as signal transduction, membrane traffic, cell polarity and motility, regulation of gene expression, cell-cell interactions, specification of cell identity, spatial patterning of developing embryos and evolution of developmental mechanisms. There is also a strong commitment to imaging techniques including scanning laser confocal microscopy, in vivo imaging of developmental processes, measurements of intracellular ion concentrations and electron microscopy.
De Lozanne, Arturo
Van Den Berg, Carla
Chemical Biology & Drug Discovery
Research at the chemistry-biology interface that focuses on the discovery and development of drugs and health-related technology. The faculty members have extensive experience in the synthesis of organic and biopolymer therapeutics, the development of high-throughput screens and assays, the application of three dimensional structure determination and modeling techniques to drug design, and the identification and evaluation of molecular targets and therapeutics, and the evaluation of the toxic action of drugs and drug candidates.
Zhang, Yan Jessie
Fundamental questions are asked concerning inheritance and changes of genetic information in living organisms. In molecular terms, this information is encoded at the level of DNA, RNA, and/or protein. The track includes diverse fields of biology ranging from cellular processes including DNA recombination, repair, transcription, splicing, translation, genomics, gene silencing, chromatin modifications, epigenetic mechanisms, RNA interference, microRNA regulation, and control of the cell-division cycle, to molecular evolution as well as human cancers and other diseases. Faculty affiliated with this track represent a broad range of research interests and experimental systems from phage, virus, and bacteria to yeast, plants, flies to mice and humans.
Chen, Zengjian (Jeff)
Primary interests include applying cellular and molecular techniques to study the nervous system. Our faculty have wide ranging research interests that touch on most of the present frontiers in neuroscience, including specification of neuronal cell fates, integration of information by synapses and dendrites, alterations in neuronal circuits as a consequence of experience, drug and alcohol addiction, sensory processing, transmitter release, repair of neuronal injuries, hormones and behavior, learning and memory, and gene expression.