Molecular & Cellular Biology Program Office
University of Iowa — 357 MRC
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-7748
Fax: 319-335-7656

Program Director: Frederick Domann, Ph.D.

Program Administrator: Paulette Villhauer

Program Associate: Joshua Lobb

Javier Gomez successfully defended his thesis on June 8, 2016 completing the requirements for his Ph.D.  Javier completed his dissertation work “Regulation of the signal transduction pathways of the Unfolded Protein Response during chronic and physiological ER stress” in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Rutkowski.  Click here to see a handout describing his research.  Congratulations Javier!


Congratulations to Jeanine Schibler who successfully defended her thesis on June 3, 2016.  Jeanine completed her dissertation work "Targeting unique oxidative metabolism of clonogenic multiple myeloma cells for therapy" in the laboratory of Dr. Apollina Goel.    Click here to see a handout describing her research.


Ilya Blokhin successfully defended his thesis on May 3, 2016 completing the requirements for his Ph.D.  Ilya completed his dissertation work “micro-RNA-dependent Mechanisms of Thrombosis in Obesity” in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Lentz.  Click here to see a handout describing his research.

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Nicholas Borcherding, an MSTP student who will matriculate into MCB in Fall 2016 through Dr. Weizhou Zhang's lab, has been selected as a Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis Award winner for 2016.  Read more about this honor here.  The thesis project, entitled “Non-Canonical WNT Signaling in Breast Cancer Initiation and Progression,” revealed a number of previously unknown functions for the WNT5A pathway in breast cancer, while identifying possible new targets for therapy.


2013 MCB Alum, Nirjal Bhattarai, PhD, is now a Principal Investigator at the Gene Transfer and Immunogenicity Branch of Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies at the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.  Congratulations Nirjal!


Brief History of the Molecular & Cellular Biology Program

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology is one of the first cross-departmental graduate programs at The University of Iowa. It was founded by John Menninger in 1974, and funded by a National Research Service Award Training Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology from 1975-1992. This initial Program did not admit students or grant degrees. Instead, after their first year of graduate study, students from various departments were chosen and awarded stipends based on merit. Similarly to today, the students and faculty met for a weekly seminar, designed to inform trainees about the variety of research that was of interest to cell and molecular biologists, to give trainees practice in presenting their research to a critical audience, and to provide a social connection for trainees who were working in various departments. In 1992, the Molecular Biology Graduate Program was formalized into a degree-granting PhD program, and in 2005, the program came full circle with a name change and a new NIH training grant in Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Today, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology still fosters the interdisciplinary efforts of a diverse group of investigators—both faculty and students—with common interests in molecular and cellular biology. Currently the program faculty represent the departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Internal Medicine, Microbiology, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, and Radiation Oncology. The program actively recruits new students with diverse research interests.