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Introduction / History
The Department of Cell Biology at the SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn has undergone marked growth and development during the past decade under the chairmanship of Dr. M.A.Q. Siddiqui. Emphasis is on developing outstanding programs in the areas of Molecular and Cell Biology and Neuroscience. The Department presently occupies approximately 16,000 square feet of research and teaching space. There are 22 full-time faculty, and over 60 full-time staff including students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, technicians and other support staff. Modern facilities are available in the department for tissue culture, electron microscopy, photography, fluorescent digital image analysis, DNA sequencing, FPLC and HPLC, and RealTime PCR in addition to many common instruments, equipment and facilities, such as scintillation counters, ultracentrifuges, spectrophotometers, an autoclave and glassware washer, dark rooms, cold and warm rooms. In addition, nearby center-wide facilities are available for DNA synthesis, protein sequencing, phosphorimaging, scientific computing, animal care and housing, scientific instrumentation and medical illustration. The Health Science Center library, located in a newly constructed building, has over 240,000 volumes and l,700 current periodicals, making it one of the larger medical school libraries in the country. Its reference department provides computerized information retrieval services covering more than 20 bibliographic databases. The Department participates in the teaching of Histology/Cell Biology, Neuroanatomy/ Neuroscience and Gross Cell Biology in the College of Medicine, the College of Health Related Professions, and the College of Nursing. In addition, many of the faculty have joint appointments in one or both of the programs for Molecular and Cell Biology and Neural and Behavioral Science in the School of Graduate Studies and participate in teaching the core courses in Cell Biology and Molecular Biology. Other elective graduate courses, such as Developmental Neurobiology, Techniques in Modern Biology, Current Topics and Cellular Developmental Biology, are offered to small groups of graduate and medical students.
Originally a traditional Department of Anatomy at its inception as a component of the Long Island College of Medicine, the department was transferred to the present campus in the mid-fifties under the aegis of the State University of New York with the creation of the new Downstate Medical Center. The first chairman, James B. Hamilton, assembled an able group of young anatomists, biochemists, electron microscopists and neuroanatomists to staff its curriculum in classical gross, microscopic, developmental and neural anatomy. The diverse background and training of the faculty favored the formation of a thriving and well-funded research and graduate training program with an overall emphasis on ageing and human genetics. The next chairman, Donald A. Fishman, who was recruited from the University of Chicago in the mid-seventies, modernized the EM facility and brought in many new faculty with training in cell and molecular biology. Dr. Fishman transformed the department into a Department of Cell Biology in keeping with changing emphases in teaching and research prevalent at that time. Some of the senior faculty currently active in teaching and research have witnessed the Department's evolution. Since Dr. Siddiqui joined the department as chair, eight new faculty members with expertise in modern techniques in cellular and biological science were recruited. There has also been a steady increase in extramural funding for reasearch illustrated by a three-fold increase during 1997 to 2001.