Complexity of biological form and function are evident across a range of organizational scales from organelles and macromolecular assemblies within individual cells, through the formation of multicellular arrays and tissues, to the higher order assembly of tissues into organs and even whole embryos and organisms. Research interests within the Department of Cell Biology span this spectrum with many research teams working across multiple levels to better understand how complex biological systems are built, maintained and ultimately fail as a consequence of senescence or disease.

At the individual cell level, we explore intracellular transport and motility, organelle dynamics, cell compartmentalization, and cell polarity. At the tissue level, we investigate mechanisms of cell adhesion and migration, tissue polarity, mechanotransduction, and regeneration. We study the principles that guide the development of organs, the nervous system, the reproductive system, and whole embryos. Through a particular emphasis on the problem of morphogenesis, we integrate our studies across all of these levels of organization, utilizing a combination of advanced imaging, genetic, structural/biochemical, and cellular/molecular approaches. Importantly, these studies create opportunities to address fundamental cell biological mechanisms and their malfunction in diseases, including cancer, birth defects, cognitive impairment, and tissue degeneration.

There are also several ongoing translational research projects in the Department of Cell Biology that have arisen from basic research efforts and insights. These cover a spectrum of applications from the development and testing of drugs to combat Ebola virus infections, to treatments for dry-eye, and the identification of novel cancer-oocyte antigens as potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets.

Our faculty is committed to providing outstanding training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. We invite you to explore these pages and learn more about the exciting and diverse assortment of research questions being addressed by our colleagues.