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

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2014 MCB Travel Awards!  Franklin Bright, Chris Groen, and Wadie Mahauad Fernandez each received a $500 Travel Award for the outstanding posters they presented at the 2014 MCB Retreat.  Scott Tyler received a Travel Award in recognition of his oral presentation at the retreat.  The winner of each award was determined by peers and faculty.



Congratulations to MCB Alum Kenjiro Muta, PhD for his second place finish in the Student/Postdoc category at the 40th annual Abboud International Symposium poster session.  The title of Dr. Muta’s poster was “The role of hypothalamic mTORC1 signaling in insulin regulation of food intake, body weight and sympathetic nerve activity.”  This research was conducted in the lab of Dr. Kamal Rahmouni.  Congrats Ken!


Tyler Ulland successfully defended his thesis on Sept. 8, 2014 completing the requirements for his Ph.D.  Tyler completed his dissertation work "The Role of AIM2 and NLRP12 in the Innate Immune Response to Francisella tularensis" in the laboratory of Dr. Fayyaz Sutterwala.    Click here to see a handout describing his research.


Recent MCB Alum Laura Whitmore wins Rex Montgomery Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Dr. Laura Whitmore for winning the 2014 Rex Montgomery Dissertation Award for her dissertation, “Neutrophil Priming and Host Inflammation: The Roles of NOX2 and Toll-Like Receptors.”  Laura completed her research in the lab of Dr. Jessica Moreland.  The winner of the Rex Montgomery Dissertation Prize receives $2,500.  Laura will be formally awarded the prize at the James F. Jakobsen Research Conference Award ceremony and reception on March 28, 2015. 


Jordan’s stem-cell law can guide the Middle East

Rana Dajani, PhD graduate of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, has become a prominent and influential spokesperson for science practice and policy in the Middle East. Rana is currently an associate professor of molecular cell biology at the Hashemite University in Zarqa, Jordan. In a policy editorial featured recently in Nature (Nature 510, 189 (12 June 2014) doi:10.1038/510189a), Rana says that a ban on private companies using stem cells from human embryos provides a policy framework for other Arab and Islamic countries. Please see more of Dr. Dajani's viewpoint of Jordan's new approach to stem-cell therapies here.

You may also download the PDF.


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.