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Cell Biology & Physiology

Program Website
Co-Director of Graduate Studies: Jimena Giudice, PhD
Co-Director of Graduate Studies: Natasha Snider, PhD
Student Services Specialist: Zachary Williamson, PhD

Program Overview

The Cell Biology and Physiology Curriculum encompasses the fields of cell biology, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, renal and respiratory physiology, neurobiology, cellular signal transduction, endocrinology, and cancer.  These broad research areas expose graduate students to both cellular and integrative system-level physiology in order to develop a strong understanding of human physiology and mechanisms of disease.  The Cell Biology and Physiology Curriculum provides our students a rigorous, individually-tailored educational experience to prepare them for research and teaching careers in the biomedical sciences. This graduate program provides a forum for graduate students to learn current modern concepts and to develop the skills necessary to formulate and analyse sophisticated strategies for analysis of contemporary problems in cell biology and physiology.  Based on a strong foundation of coursework in cell biology and physiology, students will further complement their training by selecting courses in bioinformatics/statistics, genetics, pharmacology, immunology and/or biochemistry that best support and enhance their specific area of research interest.  Dissertation research enables students to apply these tools to a problem of intellectual and biomedical interest.  Students receive strong training in the scientific process and apply their skills to probe the mechanistic basis of biological problems at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels.  A strong emphasis will be placed on career development, such as oral and written presentation skills, and mentoring students in a way that enables them to explore the diverse job opportunities available to them in the post-graduate biomedical workforce. Graduates will be well prepared to continue their research careers in a number of academic disciplines.

CBP Curriculum Requirements and Training Activities


The Cell Biology & Physiology Curriculum is very flexible and students must pass 3, one-semester classes, which includes meeting each of the requirements (a-d), as described below:

(a) Core Cell Biology and Physiology Curriculum (2 classes: 1 Spring; 1 Fall) (or medical school course equivalents for students enrolled in the MD/PhD dual degree program):

CBPH 852 Experimental Physiology of Human Health and Disease-Fall
CBPH 853 Experimental Physiology of Human Health and Disease-Spring

(b) An elective course approved by the DGS. Elective courses in genetics, pharmacology, immunology, computational biology, biochemistry, pathology or another STEM discipline that enhances the student’s specific research focus may be chosen. CBPH852/853 also can be used toward the Translational medicine certificate if desired.

(c) A comprehensive Biostatistics Course or module (for example, BBSP 610 or GNET 743 (Data Analysis and Stats) or BCB 720 (Introduction to Statistical Modeling; BCB certificate requirement) (higher level statistics with programming languages also fulfill this requirement)

(d) 2nd year students and beyond:  Annual enrollment and participation in CBPH 855-fall/856-spring:   Career and Research Enhancement Seminar (CaRES), which includes the Presentation and Grant Writing components of the CaRES Course in Year 2.

(e) A fourth year refresher course in responsible conduct of research (RCR) (CBPH 895). In the fall of the fourth year students take a short course (once a week for 6 weeks) on topics relevant to advanced graduate students on RCR.

Additional Requirements:

Years 2 and beyond:

  • Present at Fusion Seminar every year
  • Attend CBP Department Seminar Series
  • Attend CBP Curriculum dissertation defenses
  • Present a poster at Research Day
  • Submit an Annual Progress Report
  • After dissertation proposal, hold committee meetings minimum 1 per year
  • Publish, at a minimum, one first-author or shared co-first-author primary research article. This paper must be formally accepted, or deemed likely to be accepted, before the student can schedule the dissertation defense.