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Graduate Program in Cell and Molecular Biology

Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) is a degree-granting unit within the Molecular Biosciences cluster, which also includes:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (BMB)
Committee on Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology (DRSB)
Committee on Genetics, Genomics & Systems Biology (GGSB)
Human Genetics.

The academic units of the cluster share a core curriculum and a common admissions process.

The graduate program in Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) is one of five programs in the Molecular Biosciences Cluster. The program focuses primarily on the mechanisms of biological phenomenon that operate at the cellular scale.  The goal of the graduate program is to train graduate students to ask and to answer fundamental, mechanistic questions at the forefront of the fields of cell and molecular biology. Given the program’s focus on mechanism, we aim to train students to use whatever tool is necessary and most appropriate to address a question. Consequently, we teach our students to utilize a broad spectrum of experimental rationales and methodologies in cutting-edge approaches that integrate diverse disciplines and often involve collaboration; advanced microscopy and genetic analysis in wide ranging model organisms are crosscutting themes.

In the first year, a strong emphasis on rigorous, didactic preparation in cell biology, molecular biology, and genetics prepares students to choose questions, define experimental approaches, and interpret data. Once qualified, advanced students select from a wide range of opportunities for research in cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, plant biology, and microbiology. Of special interest is the design of interdisciplinary programs that emphasize the frontiers of biology. Indeed, our research and skills are frequently relevant to the research interests of students in other programs; consequently, our research program serves as a wellspring for collaborations.

In fostering advanced scholarship and research in cell and molecular biology, we strive to prepare our students to face the scientific challenges of the future and to become the next generation of leaders in research, medicine, education, and aligned disciplines. Indeed, students trained in the program are highly competitive for top postdoctoral positions and go on to influential careers in basic academic, biomedical, or industrial research and in overlapping fields such as law, business, and public policy – intersecting areas of strength at the University.

The program is administered by the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and draws its internationally distinguished faculty from that department as well as from a number of others. Major research foci include the biogenesis of cellular organelles; the assembly and organization of cellular structures; the coordination, regulation and four dimensional orchestration of the cell division cycle; the molecular basis of gene expression and regulation; cellular and molecular aspects of chromosome recombination and transmission; molecular and cellular mechanisms of metazoan development; mechanisms of cell-cell interactions in development and disease; and how cells sense and respond to signals. The model organisms in which training is available include eukaryotic and prokaryotic viruses; diverse bacteria, including cyanobacteria; Tetrahymena; budding and fission yeast; Chlamydomonas; Drosophila; Caenorhabditis; Arabidopsis and other plant species; mice; and human cells.

See also:

Molecular Biosciences (official web site of the PhD Program)
Admission to Graduate Studies in the Molecular Biosciences
Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology

CMB Curriculum Committee:

Dave Kovar (Chair)
Jean Greenberg
Michael Rust
Jon Staley


• Congratulations to a CMB student Cody Hernandez in Jonathan Staley's lab who received a 2018 HHMI/Gilliam Award.

• Congratulations to CMB student DeQuantarius Speed of Jean Greenberg's lab who received 2017 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship.

• Congratulations to CMB student Christopher Craddock of Jonathan Staley's lab who received 2015 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study.

• Congratulations to CMB students Ashley Rich of Michael Glotzer's lab and Christopher Craddock of Jonathan Staley's lab who received 2015 NSF Fellowhips.

• Congratulations to the following for their award of a PhD: David Lerner, Joseph Briguglio and Sebastian Fica.

• Congratulations to Sebastian Fica for earning two awards:
--Outstanding Work in the Field of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology
--The Divisional Research Award for the Best Dissertation in the Biological Sciences Division

• Congratulations to Jonathan Staley for Distinguished Investigator Award in the Biological Sciences Division, May 22, 2014.

• Congratulations to Lucia B. Rothman-Denes, PhD, Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, who has been elected by her peers to be a member of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2, 2014


See also:

News Archives


© 2013 Cell and Molecular Biology ® The University of Chicago
Molecular Biosciences Graduate Programs
University of Chicago
920 E. 58th St., Rm. 1105
Chicago, IL 60637
phone: 773/702-8037
fax: 773/702-3172

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