About Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy
CBNA is one of MCW’s six research-intensive basic science Departments and at the same time retains its historical and essential role in medical education via the first year “Clinical Human Anatomy”, “Neuroscience” and “Molecules to Cells” courses and through its interdisciplinary teaching the 2nd year of the Discovery Curriculum. Research areas in CBNA are focused in basic cell biology, developmental biology and neurobiology and currently include development of the heart, gastrointestinal system, retina and brain as well as the biology of muscle atrophy and plasticity. The Department’s major efforts in cellular neurobiology of peripheral nociceptors, the regulation of energy metabolism, cellular trafficking in retinal photoreceptors and the mechanisms of learning and memory have made it a major strength in MCW’s research strategy to develop a Neuroscience Center.
The strong cell and developmental focus of research in CBNA has resulted in a major emphasis on stem cell biology and its potential in regenerative medicine. CBNA is home to MCW’s Program in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology, which has established core facilities for the culture and analysis of both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. This has served as a hub for development stem cell biology in multiple Centers and Departments across the institution.
CBNA plays a major role in graduate education through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs in Biomedical Sciences and the Neurosciences, and through management of its own Graduate Program in Cell and Developmental Biology. PhD students in its laboratories make up a significant part of the research work force. The Department is home to over 30 PhD students in the laboratories of its primary and secondary faculty and it plays a major role in governance and teaching in these programs. It is also home to an interdepartmental T32 Training Program in Vision Science that supports five students annually owing to it strength the biology of vision.