Cell and Molecular Biology Cluster

The CMB cluster has three main goals. 1) Coordinate course offerings in the areas of cell and molecular biology to ensure critical subject areas are available to graduate students who have joined a participating research group. 2) Build a cross-campus community of research groups to promote intellectual exchange, collaborative opportunities, and sharing of technical expertise. 3) Provide advanced training in both fundamental and novel experimental approaches through short, intensive practicum classes.


Students pursuing the CMB Cluster will be expected to take either Cell Biology DGP 405 or IBIS 406 and one of the following molecular biology classes, Molecular Biology DGP 410, Eukaryotic Molecular Biology DGP 462, or Eukaryotic Molecular Biology IBIS 402. Students who have not taken statistics can either take an appropriate statistics course or Quantitative Biology IBIS 410. (This latter requirement is in keeping with the NIH directive to improve quantitative training of biology graduate students.) These course requirements will provide a common vocabulary and intellectual grounding for all the students within the cluster.

By the end of the third year, students will be expected to have taken two advanced topics courses. These will be offered by faculty or teams of faculty and will explore the current literature in selected areas.

Community Activities

The cluster is one of the main sponsors of the annual Chicago Symposium on Cell Signaling, which brings together leading researchers from around the country and the Chicago area signal transduction community.  A poster session provides opportunities for students and postdrs. to present their work to a wider community.  The cluster also sponsors an imaging workshop in conjunction with the annual Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis Society meeting.

Advanced Training

The fields of cell and molecular biology have been undergoing a revolution in the available experimental approaches and their sophistication. For even a large well-funded laboratory, it is very difficult to stay current with the latest technology in multiple areas. To address these needs, the CMB cluster will sponsor short practical classes in these emerging research areas. Appropriate topics include: advanced light microscopy, cryo-EM, mass spec, protein purification, bioinformatics, and high-throughput analysis. To provide these short courses, we will partner with local experts, relevant on campus facilities, and outside experts.

Cluster Director

Training Faculty