Mar 29, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Molecular and Cell Biology (MOCB)

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Hua Lu, Graduate Program Director

Degree Offered

Ph.D. (Degree Types )



BIEBERICH, CHARLES J. (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Developmental biology
BUSH, ALLEN C. (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley; Biophysical chemistry of complex carbohydrates
FARABAUGH, PHILIP J. (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., Harvard University; Molecular genetics of accuracy during protein synthesis
KARPEL, RICHARD (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Ph.D., Brandeis University; Protein-nucleic acid interactions
SELEY-RADTKE, KATHERINE (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Ph.D., Auburn University, Medicinal/Synthetic Bioorganic/Organic Chemistry and Drug Design
LINDAHL, LASSE (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., University of Copenhagen; Gene expression, ribosome biogenesis MOREIRA,
ANTONIO R. (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering), Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; Biochemical engineering, scale-up, bio-transformations, regulatory/GMP
OMLAND, KEVIN E., (Biological Sciences), Ph.D, State University of New York, Albany; Evolution, molecular systematics, animal behavior, bird plumage coloration, molecular ecology, population genetics, speciation
OSTRAND-ROSENBERG, SUZANNE (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., California Institute of Technology; Tumor Immunology, cancer immunotherapy, tumor-induced immune suppression
ROBINSON, PHYLLIS R., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Signal transduction in the visual system. Elucidation of the mechanisms of activation and deactivatoin of vertebrate visual pigments. Study of a novel vertebrate opsin, melanopsin, which is involved in the photo entrainment of circadian rhythms
SUMMERS, MICHAEL F. (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Ph.D., Emory University; Howard Hughes Associate Medical Investigator, nuclear magnetic resonance and bio-inorganic chemistry

Associate Professors

BREWSTER, RACHEL (Biological Sciences) Ph.D., University of Michigan; Neuroscience, genetics, molecular and cell biology
BUSTOS, MAURICIO M. (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; Plant molecular biology
EISENMANN, DAVID M. (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., Harvard University; Developmental biology and signal transduction
KELLY, LISA (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Ph.D., Bowling Green State University; Photochemistry, photoredox-initiated oligonucleotide and polypeptide cleavage and heterogeneous catalysis
LEIPS, JEFFERY W., (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., Florida State University; Molecular and organismal ecology, molecular biology/ genetics, ecology, environmental biology
LIN, WEIHONG (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., Colorado State University: Neurobiological studies of chemical sensations mediated by olfactory, taste and trigeminal systems with emphases on signal transduction and modulations.
LU, HUA (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., Texas A&M University; Molecular genetics and signal transduction during plant-pathogen interactions.
MARTIN, MARK R. (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering) Ph.D., Purdue University; Fermentation, proteomics and genomics, microbial responses to real-life environments, microbial cell wall synthesis
MILLER, STEPHEN M., (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Development, evolution of development, algal biofuels
RAO, GOVIND (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering), Ph.D., Drexel University; Mammalian cell culture, metabolic engineering, oxygen toxicity, biosensing
ROSS, JULIE M. (Chemical and Biochemical Engineering), Ph.D., Rice University; Cellular and biomedical engineering, cell adhesion, tissue engineering
SCHREIER, HAROLD J. (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; Microbiology, gene regulation

Assistant Professors

GARDNER, JEFFREY (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison; Molecular-genetic analysis of bacterial physiology and metabolism
GREEN, ERIN, Ph.D.., University of California, Berkeley; Post-translational modification of proteins; chromatin structure and epigenetics
STARZ-GAIANO, MICHELLE (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., New York University: Cell migration during Drosophila development, with focus on signaling pathways

Senior Research Scientist

LI, XIANG (Biological Sciences), Ph.D., UMBC; Development and cancer biology
SINHA, PRATIMA, (Biological Sciences), Ph.D, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences. Molecular and cellular basis of tumor immunity

Program Description

The Ph.D. program in Molecular and Cell Biology (MOCB) combines the substantial faculty resources and research facilities of several departments within the Colleges of Natural and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering at UMBC to offer an inter-disciplinary and state-of-the- art educational experience for those desiring advanced training in molecular and cell biology. The program provides participants with the conceptual and technical background to investigate basic or applied problems in the life sciences at the molecular and cellular levels in the biomedical, bioengineering and life sciences.

Program Admission Requirements

Candidates for admission should present a bachelor’s degree with undergraduate training in organic chemistry, general biology, genetics, cell biology, physics and calculus. A course in biochemistry is recommended but not required. In most cases, candidates will have majored in biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering, microbiology, molecular biology or the biological sciences. All applicants are required to take the aptitude sections of the Graduate Record Examination. All original application documents must be sent directly to the Graduate School, not the graduate program.

Facilities and Special Resources

The students in the program have ready access to extensive facilities at UMBC for all types of research in molecular and cell biology. These facilities include advanced equipment for molecular biology (real-time PCR machines, a phosphorimager and image documentation systems), cell biology (confocal and electron microscopes and fluorescence-activated cell sorter), biochemistry (ultracentrifuges, HPLC and FPLC, mass spectrometers) and neurophysiology (micro-spectrophotometers, micro-manipulators and video image analysis systems). Support facilities include a transgenic plant facility in a modern greenhouse, NIH-approved animal quarters, darkrooms, controlled-temperature rooms and excellent shops for mechanical work and electronics. Numerous computers provide department research support. The network infrastructure serving the Biological Sciences Building and the adjacent Martin Schwartz Hall was upgraded in 2001 to support high-speed streaming video and graphics through switched 10/1000 MB connections to every computer. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMBC has a wide array of instrumentation for research in structural biochemistry and biophysical chemistry, including mass spectrometry, NMR, electron spin resonance, circular dichroism, variable frequency phase fluorometry, Fourier transform infrared and Raman spectroscopy. Also available are high-speed computers for molecular modeling and biopolymer studies. In addition, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry houses a unit of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and some faculty have appointments in the Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland Medical School. Students in these labs also have access to all of the facilities in the Cancer Center.

Financial Assistance

All MOCB students are guaranteed financial support until completion of their degree through teaching or research assistantships, contingent on available funds and on making satisfactory progress toward their degree. The large amount of sponsored research conducted by the program’s faculty provides opportunities for graduate students to be employed on research projects.

Fellowship Opportunities at the Interface of Chemistry and Biology
UMBC has authorized a limited number of fellowships for incoming graduate students who are interested in both the areas of chemistry and biology. These fellowships aim to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century, which surely will reward those who have expertise in more than one area of science. Even now, those scientists who can bridge the gap between biology and chemistry are in high demand in such areas as the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, synthetic chemists who are knowledgeable about metabolism and biologists who understand the physical principles governing the interactions between macromolecules are widely sought after.

Fellowship recipients will obtain their Ph.D. degree in an area of the chemical or the biological sciences, but with an additional focus in the other discipline. Each course of study will be tailored individually to take into account students’ strengths and interests, but all will include course work at an advanced level in both the biological sciences and chemistry, as well as biochemistry. In addition, students will carry out research rotations in the laboratories of faculty members from both disciplines and will attend seminars from both departments. Due to the rigorous nature of this program, the normal teaching duties for first-year students will be waived, and an enhanced stipend of $20,000 (plus remission of tuition and fees) will be awarded.


    Doctor of Philosophy

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