Cellular and Molecular Biology


With faculty drawn from six basic science departments and three clinical departments, training is offered in the general areas of structure, function, biogenesis of macromolecules and subcellular organelles, as well as the mechanisms which regulate cell metabolism, differentiation and growth and intercellular interactions during development. The training program encompasses a very strong representation in several areas at the cutting edge of cell and molecular biology, stem cell biology, cancer biology, signal transduction mechanisms, regulation of gene expression, developmental genetics, molecular pathogenesis, and cellular and molecular neurobiology.

The interdisciplinary character of the program allows students to approach a research project and select a thesis advisor from a broad perspective. The curriculum is designed to provide students with an advanced, but balanced, biological education, which prepares them to understand and apply sophisticated ideas and methodologies of biochemistry, genetics, immunology, and molecular cell biology to their research. Because of the broad spectrum of research interests, students are encouraged to develop individual course selections from a diverse pool of electives after completing the required Foundations and Bioinformatics Courses. At present, there are 62 faculty members in the Cellular and Molecular Biology Training Program. The research interests of many of the faculty are directly relevant to solving major clinical problems and diseases and encompass divergent disorders such as cancer, infectious diseases, and diabetes and connective tissue diseases.


Daniel Rifkin
Elaine Wilson
Dan Rifkin, PhD
Program Director
Charles Aden Poindexter Professor of Medicine
Elaine Wilson, PhD
Graduate Advisor
Professor of Cell Biology and Urology

Sample Courses

  • Topics in Molecular Biology
  • Introduction to Biostatistics & Bioinformatics
  • Research Presentations in Cell Biology
  • Tutorial in Cell Bio/Biochemistry
  • Tutorial in Advanced Cell Biology
  • Grant Writing
  • Scientific Integrity and the Responsible Conduct of Research

Recommended Elective Courses

  • Introduction to Immunology
  • Genetics
  • Stem Cell Biology

Qualifying Exam

When: End of Year 2. Qualifying exam after 32 credits of course work.
Details: 3 faculty members (excluding student’s thesis advisor)

  • Written: Thesis proposal in NIH format, 5 double spaced pages maximum; 3 year timeframe
  • Oral: 75-90 minutes; student gives 20 minutes presentation on thesis proposal, then questions from committee