Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy

Degrees Offered
Doctor of Philosophy

Dual-Degree Program
Students with outstanding academic records who have been accepted into the MD program may apply for admission to a combined-degree program leading to the MS and MD or to the PhD and MD degrees. Completion of the dual-degree program usually requires a minimum of seven years.

Program Admissions Requirements
In addition to the general Graduate School admission requirements, this program has additional specific requirements.

Admission to the Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy Graduate Program is primarily through the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences (IDP) and the Neurosciences Doctoral Program after completion of the first-year curriculum. The student elects to complete his dissertation work with faculty of the Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy Program. The student will then have the opportunity to continue graduate studies by selecting among a wide range of courses that are offered within Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy as well as other programs at the Medical College. Courses to be taken are based on the student’s interests and consultation with the student’s advisor.

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  Fields of Research

Current research strengths are in cellular and molecular mechanisms in developmental biology and neurobiology, which employ genetic approaches, including those in mice, zebrafish and stem cells. The developmental biology focus is on specification and differentiation in heart, liver, muscle and the nervous system. The neurobiology strengths include mechanisms of pain, circadian rhythms, mitochondrial gene expression, color vision, sleep, muscle atrophy, and neuronal development and plasticity.


The curriculum consists of a core of required courses in the Interdisciplinary Programs, plus additional courses that are selected by the student. In addition, Readings and Research is taken annually. Attendance at the weekly departmental seminars is considered a major part of the educational experience.

  Overall Course Requirements

A requirement of this program is to fulfill two credits in Bioethics by completing Course (10222) Ethics and Integrity in Science and Course (10444) Research Ethics Discussion Series. For course descriptions of 10222 and 10444 see listing within the Bioethics Program.


31151 Clinical Human Anatomy. 6 credits.
This course provides students with the opportunity to study aspects of macroscopic human anatomy. Lectures parallel regional dissection in the laboratory. Students are introduced to clinical applications of anatomical knowledge in weekly clinical and radiologic correlation conferences.

31152 Human Development. 1 credit.
Normal and abnormal development of the human body is covered in course work that includes development of organ systems as well as experimental embryology and teratology. Graduate students prepare a paper on a selected topic in development.

31153 Cell Tissue Biology. 4 credits.
Structural and functional organization of specific cells and subcellular components, tissues, and organs is presented. The student must learn to identify and describe microscopic structures and to understand their functional relationships with other tissues and organs.

31205 Integrated Neuroscience, (Medical School Course). 6 credits.
This course utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to present current knowledge about integrated structural and functional properties of the mammalian nervous system. Current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the maintenance of such neural properties will be described at the molecular, cellular, and multicellular levels. In addition to lectures and laboratory sessions, selective clinical correlations will be presented to highlight known pathological mechanisms underlying certain neuronal disease states and to demonstrate modern diagnostic and therapeutic techniques currently in use in the clinic.

12206 Integrated Graduate Neuroscience. 4 credits.
(See listing within Neurosciences Doctoral Program).

31207 Introduction to Neuroscience. 2 credits.
This course provides an introduction to the neurosciences. A brief but integrated overview of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry will be provided. The course consists of both lectures and laboratory exercises.

31210 Advanced Clinical Human Anatomy. 1-3 credits. Prerequisite: 01151.
Detailed study of the developmental aspects and adult structures of the human body, organized regionally. Regional specialization is flexible and according to the needs of the student.

12221 Advanced Systems Neuroscience. 3 credits.
(See listing within Neurosciences Doctoral Program).

31212 Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. 3 credits.
The offered course provides a detailed introduction to Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. The course uses a lecture-style format supplemented with paper discussions. The intent of the course is to provide a solid academic background in developmental biology to graduate students embarking upon research into cell differentiation and development.

12237 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 3 credits.
(See listing within Neurosciences Doctoral Program).

31250 Advanced Cell Biology. 3 credits.
Lectures and readings in the renewal, differentiation, communication, adhesion, secretion, motility, gene activity, and mitochondrial dynamics of eukaryotic cells.

31257 Biology of Vision. 3 credits.
This lecture/discussion course explores the functional organization and development of the visual system as revealed by the use of a variety of anatomical, cell biological, genetic, physiological and behavioral methods. It is designed for students who wish to gain a basic understanding of the biological basis for vision and to share in the excitement of the latest developments in this field. Topics include: Development of the eye and visual system, fundamental principles of regulated gene expression, the cell biology of the photoreceptors and retina, phototransduction and neural processing in the retina, functional architecture of retina and visual system, the anatomy, physiology and perceptual significance of parallel pathways.

31262 Stem Cells in Disease and Development. 1 credit.
Prerequisite: 01212 Developmental and Stem Cell Biology or other appropriate coursework.
Integrated analysis of the contribution of developmental biology and stem biology to the study of childhood disease and development, is a course for advanced graduate students whose dissertation project focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying childhood disease through the use of stem cell and/or developmental biology. This course uses original literature as platform for discussing novel and High impact advanced made in stem cell and developmental biology. The aim is to encourage critical discussion of recent technical and conceptual advances in the field and to encourage the integration of such finding into the students' own research projects. Student will be graded on the extent and quality of their input into class discussions as well as through a series of short exams.

31295 Reading and Research. 1-9 credits.
Readings in recent literature including a supervised laboratory project.

31298 Journal Club. Analysis and Communication of Scientific Data. 1 credit.
Critical reviews of current research topics.

31299 Master’s Thesis. 6 credits.
Laboratory research and literature survey as necessary for completion of a master’s thesis.

31399 Doctoral Dissertation. 9 credits.
Laboratory research and literature survey as necessary for completion of the doctoral dissertation.

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