• Biophysics and Synthetic Biology of Multi-cell System

  • How does the cell control the use of information encoded in genes?

  • Modulating the gene network that controls the ON/OFF switch of cell growth

  • Why does cancer survive when normal cells cannot?

  • Identifying molecular targets to increase longevity & treat age-related disease

  • Building a model of the stress signaling network inside your cells

  • On the hunt for genes and small molecules at work in ailing/aging neurons

  • Elucidating molecular mechanisms plants use to specify & maintain cell fates

  • Microbial stress response and adaptation to nutrient and energy scarcity on Earth and beyond

  • Gene networks & evolution: How did wormlike creatures give rise to mammals?


MCB's 21 primary faculty represent a diverse array of research that builds fundamental insight and translates into treating diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, and aging. Our faculty investigate a wide range of basic questions concerning cells and genes and their impact on evolution, aging, and disease. We are also researching novel approaches in science education and studying the very origins of life. Click on the research areas below to learn more about our work.


Understanding the fundamental processes that drive aging to identify molecular targets to simultaneously treat multiple classes of age-associated disease and extend healthy human lifespan.

Cell Signaling, Trafficking, and Polarity

Each living cell senses and integrates external cues and makes corresponding responses.

Differentiation, Development, and Evolution

Mutations in development are the root of human disease and disability. On the other hand, they also allow for the evolution of new forms.

Genetic Mechanisms

How do genes work?

Mechanisms of Disease

Understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease is one of the key goals of modern biomedical research.

Organelle Biogenesis and Function

How particular organelles are created and placed within the cell.

Origins of Life and Astrobiology

Has life comparable to our own arisen elsewhere?

Science Education

Seeking to understand teaching and learning in the sciences with the goal of improving it.

Systems and Computational Biology

Understanding many cellular processes demands an integrative approach, considering systems of interacting biomolecules, rather than focusing on individual genes or proteins.

Undergraduate Research

Research Opportunities for Students