Credit: Pradeep Joshi

Researchers in MCDB are using genetic and genomic tools to investigate fundamental questions of cell and developmental biology in a wide variety of plant, microbial, and animal organisms. Research teams are investigating both established model systems, such as mice, embryonic and induced stems cells, Drosophila, C. elegans, Arabidopsis, and a number of marine model organisms including the ascidians Ciona and Botryllus, and the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Ongoing genetic studies are shedding new light on the mechanisms underlying cancer, organ development, regeneration, fertilization, cell signaling, sensory signaling, animal behavior, transcriptional regulation, and microbial pathogenesis (among others). Research teams in MCDB have played important roles in genome projects including those for the ciliate protozoa Tetrahymena, the ascidian Ciona, and the marine sponge Amphimedon queenslandica. MCDB is home to organized genetic resource centers for Tetrahymena and Ciona. Facilities available to genetic and genomic researchers includes on site next-generation sequencing, a shared state of the art microscopy facility, and extensive resources for the study of marine organisms.

Affiliated Faculty

Teaching Professor
Biochemistry and molecular genetics of plant and yeast secondary metabolism; research on improving undergraduate science education with a particular emphasis on improving outcomes for students from groups that are underrepresented in STEM.
Molecular mechanisms of self/non-self recognition in non-vertebrates; characterization of stem cells and development processes underlying regeneration and aging.
Faculty Graduate Advisor
Molecular genetics of plant development; analysis of abscisic acid signaling networks.
Assistant Professor
Combining biochemistry and cell biology to understand the regulation of membrane-bound organelles.
Molecular genetics and biochemistry of bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems; mechanisms of tmRNA- and ArfA-mediated ribosome rescue.
Harriman Professor of Neuroscience
Neural plasticity including the molecular basis of plasticity, the evolution of synapses, and disease-related impairments of plasticity such as occurs in Alzheimer's disease.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Cellular communication between bacteria, including mechanisms and biology of contact-dependent growth inhibition; epigenetic gene regulatory mechanisms.
Microbial pathogenesis; innate and adaptive immune responses to infection; microbial sepsis; vaccine and antimicrobial development.
Duggan Professor and
Distinguished Professor
Molecular and cellular basis of animal behavior in flies and mosquitoes.
Duggan Professor and Distinguished Professor
Combination of molecular, genetic, and state-of-the-art imaging approaches to define and solve fundamental questions in cell and developmental biology with implications for neurodegenerative disease, ischemic diseases and cancer.
Research Professor
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
Bio-inspired catalytic nanofabrication, tunable photonic materials and dynamic self-assembly. Applications to semiconductors, high-power batteries, electro-optics, IR and solar energy.
Research Professor
Professor Emeritus
Tetrahymena genetics and genomics; genetic, physical and sequence mapping of the germline and expressed genomes of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena thermophila.
Professor Emeritus
Collaboration with the Low and Hayes labs on contact-dependent growth inhibition systems in bacteria.
Assistant Professor
We investigate DNA repair mechanisms and use this knowledge to improve gene editing.
Distinguished Professor
Wilcox Family Chair in Biotechnology
Director, Biomolecular Science and Engineering Program
Regulation of development and differentiation; regulation of programmed cell death and cell division; mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
Research Professor,
and C.A. Storke II Professor and Distinguished Professor, Emeritus
Antiviral innate immunity and interferon action, with focus on the roles of double-stranded RNA in translational control by the PKR kinase and A-to-I RNA editing by the ADAR1 deaminase.
Associate Professor
Genetics, Neural Circuits, and Motor sequences.
Developmental genetics and morphogenesis of the primitive chordate Ciona.
Distinguished Professor
Structure-properties relationships in loadbearing marine biomolecular materials, e.g. from mussels, squid and whelks, at different length and time scales to design new materials.
Assistant Professor
Combines tools from Biology, Engineering, and Physics to understand the cell’s perceptual field.
An evolutionary biologist using genomic and epigenomic tools to study regulatory evolution.