Molecular and Cell Biology

Department Head

Professor Michael A. Lynes

Associate Department Head for Graduate Education and Research

Professor Joerg Graf

Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Education and Research

Professor Arlene D. Albert

Distinguished Professors



Albert, Alexandrescu, Benson, Cole, Gage, Giardina, Goldhamer, Graf, Knecht, Lynes, Noll, R. O’Neill, Reiter, and Teschke

Associate Professors

Alder, Lee, Mellone, Nelson, Nyholm, M. O’Neill, Papke, Robinson, Zhang, and Zweifach

Assistant Professors

Broderick, Campellone, Core, Hird, Klassen, Malone, and May

Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Program:

Modern molecular and cellular biology is an interdisciplinary body of knowledge that overarches classic research disciplines. This diversity is reflected in the faculty of our department who represent a wide range of expertise allowing our students to perform interdisciplinary projects while receiving excellent training in specific areas. Thus, after admission to the Molecular and Cell Biology Field of Study, students pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Master of Science (M.S.) degree focus their studies in one of the following Areas of Concentration:

(1) Cell and Developmental Biology – signal transduction, cytoskeleton and cell motility, developmental and stem cell biology, molecular endocrinology, hormones and morphogenesis, mechanisms of immune function, stress responses, molecular virology and interferons.

(2) Genetics and Genomics – organization and regulation of genes and gene families in microbial, plant, virus and animal model systems; genome analysis; molecular evolution; chromosome structure and function; developmental genetics; transposable genetic elements and gene transfer; and genetic responses to stress.

(3) Microbiology – microbial diversity, ecology, evolution, genetics, genomics, physiology, and pathogenesis. Areas of strength include the study of extremophiles, gene transfer, microbiomes, and symbiosis.

(4) Structural Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry – enzyme mechanisms, x-ray structural and kinetic analyses of enzymes, structure of membrane interactive peptides and proteins, macromolecular interactions, mechanisms of virus assembly, protein transport through membranes, receptor/ligand interactions, biochemical signalling, transcriptional and translational regulation, protein folding, molecular chaperones and response to stress, plant cell molecular biology.

Professional Science Master’s Programs

In response to the national priority for training graduate students at the master’s level for careers outside of academia, the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology has two Professional Master’s Programs. Our innovative programs combine traditional coursework; short, intense modular courses that provide advanced training in laboratory techniques and bioinformatics; and cohort courses that focus on preparing students for the work environment. This is a non-thesis Master’s degree and has a full-time internship component.

Applied Genomics

The professional M.S. degree program in Applied Genomics trains scientists with interdisciplinary competency in genetics, molecular biology, and computational analysis. The program provides substantial cross-training elements for successful performance in a business or corporate environment. The program has its foundations in the existing strengths of more than 20 faculty members, campus-wide, who conduct genomics-related research and training. Additional information is available at the Professional Science Master’s website: <>.

Microbial Systems Analysis

The curriculum of the professional M.S. degree program in Microbial Systems Analysis has a personalized curriculum to train students for employment in a range of areas including applied, biomedical, clinical, environmental, genomic, industrial and veterinary microbiology. The training combines specialized microbiology classes with state-of-the-art laboratory courses, PSM cohort classes, professional development and an internship. More information can be found at

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