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The School of Graduate Studies
Molecular & Cellular Biology
A remarkable feature of life is its diversity: from single-celled organisms, with complex gene regulatory circuits controlling metabolism, motility, and cell division; to mammals, which develop from a single cell to highly complex multicellular organisms with organ systems, comprised of multiple differentiated cells with specialized functions, and having defined and regulated morphologies. Yet equally remarkable is that all known forms of life are derived from the same chemical building blocks, including the means by which almost all biological information is stored: DNA. With the recent sequencing of the human, yeast, and bacterial genomes, the task at hand is to decipher the information contained in these vast biological databases - How is this information disseminated to create an organism? How are biological structures organized and their functions coordinated? How do biological systems adapt to or cope with an ever-changing environment? Answering these questions forms the core of contemporary molecular and cellular biology. Most importantly, the answers are critical to develop treatments for devastating human diseases, from HIV/AIDS to cancer.
The internationally renowned molecular and cellular biology research groups at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn tackle these issues at many levels. Basic and clinical research programs include the study of complex molecular machines, such as RNA polymerases and Ribosomes; chromatin remodeling and other mechanisms regulating gene expression patterns; signal transduction pathways regulating life, death, and developmental decisions from yeast to neurons; the development and regulation of organ systems such as the hematopoietic system, the heart, liver, muscle and brain. Moreover, many research groups focus on human disease: the biology of microorganisms, such as bacterial pathogens and viruses; the immune response; the molecular basis for human genetic disorders, alcoholism, and cancer.
To support these endeavors, the modern, state-of-the-art laboratories at SUNY Downstate are complemented by institute-wide core facilities that span the diverse research needs of the basic and clinical sciences. Graduate training towards a Ph. D. or M.D./ Ph. D. includes interdisciplinary studies in molecular and cellular biology through coursework and laboratory rotations, with a low student-to-faculty ratio. A Ph. D. degree from SUNY Downstate provides an excellent foundation for post-doctoral studies in academia and biotechnology.