The research interests of CMB faculty span a broad range of topics in modern molecular and cellular biology, emphasizing the cell as a fundamental unit of biological organization and dynamics. We use a broad range of traditional and non-traditional model organisms, Drosophila, C. elegans, Arabidopsis and other plant species, Tetrahymena, Chlamydomonas, budding and fission yeast, diverse bacteria including cyanobacteria, cultured mammalian cells, as well as various eukaryotic and prokaryotic viruses. Students working in CMB labs learn to address mechanistic questions by combining traditional molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches with cutting edge tools such as stem cell engineering, genome editing, biochemical reconstitution, live cell imaging and mathematical modeling. Major research focus areas include:
How do living cells organize and coordinate their many activities in space and time? CMB faculty address this question through studies of cell and tissue polarity, membrane trafficking, self-organized cytoskeletal dynamics that underlie cell motility, shape change and cell division, cell cycle control and circadian dynamics.
Much of organismal development is governed by the actions of individual cells that must be coordinated to produce coherent tissue-level behaviors. CMB researchers study the collective dynamics of cells that underlie spatiotemporal control of cell identity, growth control, tissue morphogenesis, the elaboration of neural circuits, and the neural control of animal behavior.
An enduring challenge in cell biology is to understand how cells control the flow of genetic information, within and across generations, through dynamic regulation of genome organization, the synthesis, modification, repair and destruction of nucleic acids. CMB researchers address this challenge through studies of transcriptional control, RNA splicing, meiotic recombination and DNA repair, regulation of chromatin architecture and dynamics, and genome surveillance.
Cells use elaborate biochemical circuits to integrate information and make informed decisions. CMB researchers explore core principles of biological circuit design that underlie cell cycle control, cell fate determination, cellular metabolism, cell and tissue homeostasis, disease resistance, maintenance of genome integrity, and the neural control of behavior.