Department of Cell Biology

The Department of Cell Biology is home to an exciting group of faculty, post-doctoral scientists and students addressing fascinating questions about the nature of biological complexity – how molecular, subcellular, cellular and multicellular events are integrated and ordered over time to assemble and maintain specialized tissues, organs and whole organisms.  We work to promote multidisciplinary collaborative research and fundamental discovery in all areas of cell and developmental biology, and to inspire the translation of these new advances toward improving human health.

Doug DeSimone, PhD

A word from the Chair, Douglas DeSimone, Ph.D.

This is an exciting time to be a cell biologist. Remarkable advances in optical microscopy and live cell and embryo imaging now make it possible to probe complex processes occurring over time and along multiple length-scales, from the molecular to subcellular and single cells to tissues. Combined with traditional genetics, powerful gene-editing technologies and genome-level analyses, the cell biologist now has an unprecedented set of tools available to probe mechanistic underpinnings of biological processes as diverse as embryonic development, aging and disease, and tissue regeneration.
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aberrant neural stem cell divisions

Dwyer lab shows how aberrant neural stem cell divisions cause brain malformation

Neural stem cells divide rapidly to grow the brain during development. The Dwyer Lab has discovered a role for the gene Cep55 in ensuring the speed and success rate of these cell divisions. Mutations in human Cep55 cause microcephaly. The Dwyer lab's recent publication in the Journal of Neuroscience reports their discovery of a role for the gene Cep55 in ensuring the speed and success rate of these cell divisions. In mouse brains lacking Cep55, the last step of cell division (abscission) is delayed and occasionally fails. This can activate a p53 signal for programmed cell death, or another signal to stop dividing. Both these mechanisms prematurely deplete the neural stem cells, and lead to a smaller brain at birth.
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Resident Faith in UVA Lab

Graduate Training in Cell and Developmental Biology

Understanding how cells and tissues function is central to all areas of biomedical research. The graduate program in Cell and Developmental Biology provides intensive training at the cutting edge of this dynamic field. Our internationally-recognized faculty investigate diverse and fundamental questions related to how cells and tissues function at the molecular level, including membrane and cytoskeletal dynamics, signal transduction, mitosis, cell adhesion and motility, mechanotransduction, embryonic patterning, tissue morphogenesis, morphogenetic movements, tissue repair and regeneration.
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