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

Matthew Long successfully defended his thesis on April 11, 2014 completing the requirements for his Ph.D.  Matt completed his dissertation work "Manipulation of the Innate Immune Response and Evasion of Macrophage Host Defense Mechanisms by Francisella tularensis" in the laboratory of Dr. Lee-Ann Allen.  Click here to see a handout describing his research.


MCB student Kaylia Duncan has won the 2014 Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis Award in the Biological and Life Sciences category.  Her M.S. thesis was completed in the Department of Pathology in the lab of Dr. Siegfried Janz.  The thesis, entitled “Dynamics of Tumor Progression and Therapy Response in IL-6 and MYC Driven Plasma Cell Malignancy,” was a study that used a mouse model to determine patterns of tumor progression in cases of multiple myeloma.  Kaylia is now pursuing her Ph.D. in the MCB program under the direction of Dr. Robert Cornell.  Congratulations on winning this prestigious award Kaylia!


Pavla Brachova successfully defended her thesis work entitled "Oncomorphic TP53 mutations in advanced serous ovarian cancers" on April 4, 2014.  Pavla completed her dissertation research in the laboratory of Dr. Kimberly Leslie.   Learn more about her research.  Congratulations Pavla!

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MCB student Andrew Spracklen has been presented with the Tung-Yang Wing Award for Suprerior Achievement in Anatomy Graduate Education for his oustanding research achievements this past year.  Andrew will be formally presented with the award at the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology Student Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.  Congratulations Andrew!


Rachel Starks successfully defended her thesis on April 2, 2014 completing the requirements for her Ph.D.  Rachel completed her dissertation work "Molecular Basis of Insulin Resistance in Bardet Biedl Syndrome" in the laboratory of Dr. Kamal Rahmouni.  Congratulations Rachel!  Click here to see a handout describing her research.

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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.