Cell and Molecular Biology


This focus group is formed of faculty and students interested in understanding biological systems at the macromolecular and cellular levels. Our research labs study many different processes using a wide array of experimental organisms, including bacteria, plants, fungi, and animals. This breadth gives students many choices for thesis research topics.

The cell and molecular focus group faculty are wholly committed to a style of instruction emphasizing personalized, hands-on, one-on-one training. Each student works closely with at least one faculty member on his or her thesis project. Our graduate seminar courses typically enroll fewer than 10 students, so that each participant has numerous opportunities to develop critical thinking and presentation skills in a friendly, supportive environment.

We have strong research programs in animal and plant development, hormonal signaling in plants and animals, translation and protein synthesis, molecular and cellular immunology, yeast genetics, and neuroscience. One area of active research that connects Biology with other WFU departments is Molecular Signaling. Because faculty affiliated with the Cell and Molecular Focus Group offer numerous courses covering the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell physiology, each student designs an individualized course of study appropriate to his or her research interests and career goals. Graduate students also select from a list of seminar courses that emphasize the analysis of current literature on an important topic in cellular or molecular biology. Additional advanced courses in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology are available through our affiliated medical center. Interested students may opt to participate in an interdisciplinary track in Structural and Computational Biophysics. Graduates of our program are currently employed in teaching, research, and industry positions.

P. Sukumar (PhD. 2011) checks samples (photo by Ken Bennett)

Prospective graduate students are strongly encouraged to email, call, and/or visit the individual faculty members listed below to explore opportunities for research leading to a Master’s degree or a Ph.D. Such personal contacts are an important component of our admissions process.