Molecular & Cell Biology

Molecular & Cell Biology Graduate Program

Tharun Sundaresan, Ph.D.
Director of MCB Graduate Program
Phone: (301) 295-9324

Rachel Cox, Ph.D.
Director of MCB Recruitment & Admissions
Phone: (301) 295-9791

Frank Shewmaker, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of MCB Recruitment & Admissions
Phone: (301) 295-3527

Tina Finley
Administrative Officer, MCB Graduate Program
Phone (301) 295-3642
FAX (301) 295-1996


USU Courtyard

Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB)

Welcome to the Graduate Program in Molecular and Cell Biology

Modern biology has been revolutionized by developments in molecular and cell biology. These developments cross traditional disciplines in ways that involve virtually every aspect of biomedical investigation. Understanding the complex mechanisms involved in cell-cell communication, intracellular signal transduction, regulation of gene expression, and immune response to foreign antigens and pathogens all require the application of multidisciplinary methods and thinking. Similarly, the investigation of the basis for the structural organization of cells and their organelles, the control of cell division, and the processes that lead to oncogenic transformation is most productive when techniques and ideas from diverse disciplines are brought to bear, as is the rational design of appropriate strategies and therapeutic agents to combat human disease. The ability to apply a multitude of approaches to a single problem and to exploit the advantages of diverse model systems is the hallmark of interdisciplinary research.

The Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) Ph.D. program is designed to provide individuals with strong backgrounds in biology and chemistry, and a desire to explore the molecular basis of biological processes and human disease, with comprehensive didactic and laboratory training in all areas of contemporary biomedical research. The faculty is drawn from eleven different Basic Science and Clinical departments.

Their research programs reflect a wide range of interests, including the molecular virology of HIV pathogenesis, the function of the immune system, and the mechanisms by which prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells sense, process, and respond to a variety of normal and abnormal stimuli. These programs attract extensive funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and a host of other public and private agencies and provide MCB students, who come from all over the world, with the opportunity to receive training that prepares them for careers in academic, government, or industry research settings.

The program of study includes course work in fundamental and advanced areas of molecular and cell biology, and original laboratory research leading to the Ph.D. degree. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty conducting research in virtually every area of contemporary molecular and cell biology including cancer biology, cellular immunology, molecular mechanisms of signal transduction, and proteomics. The faculty are drawn from basic and clinical science departments, encouraging a collaborative and interactive environment.