Cell & Molecular Biology

Understanding the molecular mechanisms behind cellular processes provides insight into many aspects of modern biology, from embryonic development to human disease. Work in the biology department uses both plant and animal model systems to explore such diverse cellular events as chromosome movement, cell cycle regulation, control of gene expression, cell to cell signaling, coordination of cell movements and growth during development, and pathogen resistance.

L. Ryan Baugh

L. Ryan Baugh

Associate Professor of Biology

We use the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as model to investigate how animals cope with fluctuations in food availability. We are interested in the signaling pathways and gene regulatory mechanisms that enable this worm to reversibly arrest development and endure starvation. We are interested in... Full Profile »

Amy Bejsovec

Amy Bejsovec

Associate Professor of Biology

My laboratory explores the molecular mechanisms of pattern formation in developing embryos. We focus on the Wingless(Wg)/Wnt class of secreted growth factor: these molecules promote cell-cell communication leading to important cell fate decisions during the development of both vertebrate and... Full Profile »

Philip N. Benfey

Philip N. Benfey

Paul Kramer Distinguished Professor of Biology

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Xinnian Dong

Xinnian Dong

Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Biology

Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, my laboratory studies the mechanisms of plant defense against microbial pathogens. We focus on a specific response known as systemic acquired resistance (SAR). SAR,... Full Profile »

Steven B. Haase

Steven B. Haase

Associate Professor of Biology

Our group is broadly interested in understanding the biological clock mechanisms that control the timing of events during the cell division cycle. In 2008, the Haase group proposed a new model in which a complex network of sequentially activated transcription factors regulates the precise timing of... Full Profile »

Daniel P. Kiehart

Daniel P. Kiehart

Professor of Biology

Our intellectual focus is on identifying determinants of cell shape that function during development. Utilizing molecular genetic and reverse genetic approaches in Drosophila, we have shown that conventional nonmuscle myosin is necessary for driving both cell division and post-mitotic cell shape... Full Profile »

David R. McClay

David R. McClay

Arthur S. Pearse Distinguished Professor of Biology

We ask how the embryo works. Prior to morphogenesis the embryo specifies each cell through transcriptional regulation and signaling. Our research builds gene regulatory networks to understand how that early specification works. We then ask how this specification programs cells for their... Full Profile »

Masayuki Onishi

Masayuki Onishi

Assistant Professor of Biology

The overall goal of the Onishi lab is to understand the fundamental core mechanisms of eukaryotic cell division that have been conserved throughout the evolution from the last eukaryotic common ancestor.  To this end, the lab currently uses the unicellular model green alga Chlamydomonas... Full Profile »

Zhen-Ming Pei

Zhen-Ming Pei

Associate Professor of Biology

My laboratory is interested in the early signaling events by which plants sense environmental signals and decode to give the appropriate responses. Upon perception of external signals, cell surface receptors trigger an increase in cytosolic free calcium concentration, which is mediated by ion... Full Profile »

Amy K. Schmid

Amy K. Schmid

Associate Professor of Biology

Research in my lab seeks to elucidate how cells make decisions in response to environmental cues. My particular focus is on how networks of molecules interact within free-living microbial cells. These networks govern the decision to grow when conditions are optimal or deploy damage repair systems... Full Profile »

David R. Sherwood

David R. Sherwood

Jerry G. and Patricia Crawford Hubbard Professor

The Sherwood lab is interested in understanding mechanisms that drive dynamic cellular behaviors underlying normal development and human disease. We study 1) How cells invade into tissues, 2) How stem cells interact with their niches, and 3) How cells control and interact... Full Profile »

Nina Tang Sherwood

Nina Tang Sherwood

Associate Professor of the Practice of Biology

We use Drosophila melanogaster as a model to understand nervous system development and function. A genetic screen for molecules important to these processes identified the fly ortholog of the spastin gene, which when mutated in humans leads to a progressive neurodegenerative disease called... Full Profile »

Gustavo M. Silva

Gustavo M. Silva

Assistant Professor of Biology

My main research goal is to understand and be able to control how cells respond to stressful and harmful conditions, which are the underlying causes of many human diseases. To achieve this goal, I study cellular response to stress at the protein level and aim to characterize the different... Full Profile »

Eric P. Spana

Eric P. Spana

Associate Professor of the Practice of Biology

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Lucia Carol Strader

Lucia Carol Strader

Associate Professor in Biology

Normal plant morphogenesis and environmental responses require integrating multiple signals to modulate auxin responsiveness, biosynthesis, transport, and storage forms.  Auxin is a critical plant hormone, controlling both cell division and cell expansion and thereby orchestrating many... Full Profile »

Tai-ping Sun

Tai-ping Sun

Professor of Biology

The diterpenoid phytohormone gibberellin (GA) plays pivotal roles in regulating growth and development throughout the life cycle of higher plants.  Mutations affecting GA biosynthesis or GA response were the key to control plant stature in wheat and rice that led to dramatically increased grain... Full Profile »

Pelin Cayirlioglu Volkan

Pelin Cayirlioglu Volkan

Associate Professor of Biology

The long-term goal in the lab is to understand the developmental processes that establish the basic organizational and functional principles of the neuronal circuits in the brain. We investigate how the neuronal circuits assemble, functionally mature, remodel in developmental and evolutionary time... Full Profile »