MCDB research programs explore the spectrum of biological processes at the sub-organismal level. These programs both seek to unveil the fundamental functions occurring within and between cells and to apply those discoveries in ways that improve the human condition through advances in biomedicine, agriculture, the environment, and life science-based technology.

Biomolecular materials in marine organisms provide a treasure trove of new insights for understanding adaptation in marine organisms as well as stoking bio-inspired innovations in technology.


Molecular disease mechanisms, diagnostic approaches and biomarkers, pharmacological interventions and novel drug design, disease therapies.

Cytoskeleton dynamics, membrane trafficking, protein / lipid glycosylation, cell adhesion / migration, cell signaling, apoptosis, stem cells, tumorigenesis / cancer metastasis.

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of development; adult and embryonic stem cell biology, engineering, and regenerative medicine.

Genetics & Genomics

Gene and genome organization, function, and evolution in plants, animals and microbes.


Mechanisms of gene expression and function in microorganisms, host protective responses to infection by microbial and viral pathogens, and the molecular basis of pathogenesis and microbial disease processes.


Development of the Nervous System; Sensory signaling; Animal Behavior; Neurodegenerative Diseases; Stem Cell Biology and Engineering; Ion Channel Biophysics; Intracellular Protein Trafficking; Neuronal Cytoskeleton.

Plant development, structure and function of cell walls, plant-microbe symbiosis, secondary metabolism, tandem repeat protein bioinformatics.

Systems biology focuses on understanding complex interactions in biological systems.