Cell and Developmental Biology


BMS Faculty in Cell and Developmental Biology


Research Area Leaders: Peter Novick and Xin Sun

Molecular Cell Biology applies biochemical, genetic, molecular, and sophisticated morphological techniques to the investigation of basic cellular processes in health and disease. The Cell & Developmental Biology Research Area provides abundant opportunities to investigate problems in molecular biology and cell biology. The research area includes outstanding faculty members drawn from several departments in the School of Medicine to offer a breadth and depth of expertise in both research areas addressed and experimental approaches used in molecular cell biology.

Areas of investigation include cell signaling, glycobiology, lipid signaling and membrane trafficking, molecular motors and vesicular trafficking, chromosome biology, transcriptional regulation, RNA processing, cell cycle control, cancer cell biology and the layers of integration between these processes. These topics are investigated in a wide variety of organisms including yeast, Drosophila, C. elegans, mice and humans, using approaches that range from high-end microscopy to functional genomics.

Students are expected to choose elective courses that reflect a molecular cell biology focus, including participation in seminars and journal clubs with a molecular cell biology focus.


BMS provides a unified core curriculum for all first-year students. Based on their interests, students can choose from a range of elective courses to fill their 15-unit elective requirement. Courses related to this research area are listed below

Course Title
BIOM 224 Cancer Genetics
CMM 225 Advanced Glycobiology
BIOM 243 Human Genetics


Seminars in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Journal Clubs:

An essential aspect of graduate education is discussion and critical evaluation of current discoveries. Students in the Molecular Cell Biology Training Area are expected throughout their graduate careers to attend and meet with the speakers in the weekly Cellular and Molecular Medicine Seminar Series, which features outstanding speakers in molecular and cellular biology and medicine drawn from premiere institutions worldwide. They are also expected to participate in one of several journal clubs: Cancer Biology Journal Club, Glycobiology Journal Club or Genetics Journal Club.

"The key to every biological problem must finally be sought in the cell". E. B. Wilson