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Cell Biology & Genetics

Research of BCMB faculty with an interest in genetics, cell and molecular biology focuses in three major areas: chromosome structure and function, neurobiology, and bacterial genetics.

Research within the area of chromosome structure and function uses model organisms, including Drosophila melanogaster, to study major research topics including chromatin insulators, gene transcription regulation, molecular genetics of insecticide resistance, Y-chromosome degeneration, dosage compensation, mechanisms of transposition, cell cycle regulation, meiosis, mitosis, cancer, and aging.

Research topics in the area of neurobiology include neurogenetics of biological rhythms, Drosophila neurodevelopment, cellular bases of mammalian circadian rhythms, genetics of neurodevelopmental diseases, and the neural bases of sound recognition in vertebrates.

Research topics in the area of bacterial genetics include bacterial chemotaxis and motility.

Researchers in these areas make an extensive use of model organisms such as bacteria, yeasts, Drosophila and mouse, and utilize a large array of experimental approaches that include genetic analysis, genomics, transgenic animals, recombinant DNA, fluorescence and confocal microscopy, and tissue culture, as well as the biochemical and computational approaches necessary to understand biological functions at the molecular level.


Gladys Alexandre 
Bacterial chemotaxis and motility

Joshua Bembenek
Cell division in C. elegans

Maitreyi Das
Study of cell shape and polarity control

Ranjan Ganguly
Molecular genetics of insecticide resistance; dosage compensation

Jim Hall
Neural basis of sound recognition in vertebrates; role of nitric oxide in hearing

Mariano Labrador
Chromosomes; structure and function of chromatin boundaries; retroviral integration

Bruce D. McKee
Meiosis; chromosome structure and function

Jae H. Park
Neurogenetics of biological rhythms and behavior; neurodevelopment in Drosophila

Rebecca Prosser
Cellular basis of mammalian circadian rhythms


Students in our labs often take some of the following courses

1. Core courses (taken by all BCMB graduate students, as well as students from other programs):

  • BCMB 511 Advanced BiochemistryProtein structure, catalysis, binding; membranes
  • BCMB 512 Advanced Molecular Biology: Gene regulation, chromatin, RNA
  • BCMB 515  Experimental Techniques

2. Specialized BCMB courses. Popular offerings include:

  • BCMB 513  Cell Biology:  Signaling pathways, cell cycle, cytoskeleton, protein trafficking
  • BCMB 530  Experimental Design and Analysis:  Scientific writing, building and testing hypotheses
  • BCMB 550  Advanced Concepts in Neurobiology/Physiology
  • BCMB 562 and BCMB 564  Electron Microscopy
  • BCMB 605-608  Journal clubs.  Recent: Novel roles of RNA; Protein turnover; Metamorphosis
  • BCMB 610  Current topics. Recent: Cancer cell biology; Electron microscopy
  • BCMB 615  Special topics. Recent: Membrane dynamics and biogenesis; Analytical techniques in protein biochemistry

3. Courses offered by other programs (such as Genome Science and Technology [Analytical Technologies, Genomics, Bioinformatics], Statistics, Microbiology, and many more.

4. Course credit for miscellaneous activities such as departmental seminars (BCMB 601) and colloquia (BCMB 603), first-year lab rotations (BCMB 516), and other ‘Thesis’ (BCMB 500) and ‘Dissertation’ (BCMB 600) activities.