Modern biology has been revolutionized by developments in molecular and cell biology. These developments cross traditional disciplines in ways that involve virtually every aspect of biomedical investigation. Understanding the complex mechanisms involved in cell-cell communication, intracellular signal transduction, regulation of gene expression, and immune response to foreign antigens and pathogens all require the application of multidisciplinary methods and thinking. Similarly, the investigation of the basis for the structural organization of cells and their organelles, the control of cell division, and the processes that lead to oncogenic transformation is most productive when techniques and ideas from diverse disciplines are brought to bear, as is the rational design of appropriate strategies and therapeutic agents to combat human disease. The ability to apply a multitude of approaches to a single problem and to exploit the advantages of diverse model systems is the hallmark of interdisciplinary research.



For more information: medschool.usuhs.edu/geo/admissions

The Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) PhD program is designed for full-time students with strong backgrounds in biology and chemistry, and a desire to explore the molecular basis of biological processes and human disease. We provide students with an educational experience that nurtures their ability to develop as professional scientists and carry out research that draws expertise and tools from multiple resources across disciplines. The academic environment strongly promotes networking, interpersonal and leadership skills and facilitates collaboration between military and civilian scientists and students involved in research projects spanning both basic and clinical science disciplines.

The MCB faculty are drawn from several different basic science and clinical departments across the university. Their research expertise spans a wide range of areas including immunology, genetics, biochemistry, genomics, regulation of gene expression, virology, structural biology, cancer biology and military medicine. Their research attracts extensive funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and a host of other public and private agencies and provide the MCB students with the opportunity to receive training that prepares them for careers in academic, government, or industry research settings.

Students receive a comprehensive didactic and laboratory training in all areas of contemporary biomedical research. Course work involves lectures and discussion classes on both fundamental and advanced areas of molecular and cell biology and lab rotations following which the students transition to original laboratory research leading to their PhD degree.

Program Director and Administrative Contact Information:

Tharun Sundaresan, PhD, Program Director
tharun.sundaresan@usuhs.edu, (301) 295-9423

Tina Finley, Program Administrative Officer
netina.finley@usuhs.edu, (301) 295-3642

Program Information Contact




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Program Highlights

Students have the opportunity to participate in cutting-edge research that spans numerous possibilities: basic science, clinical research, global health, etc. Particular focus areas relevant to military medicine include traumatic brain injury, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, tropical diseases, combat casualty care, substance abuse, genomics and precision medicine.

Graduate Research

The University's research program covers a range of disciplines important to both the military and public health. Infectious diseases, trauma medicine, health maintenance, and cancer research are areas of particular strength. Researchers at USU make groundbreaking efforts in state-of-the-art and multidisciplinary fields, such as genomics, proteomics, and drug-delivery mechanisms.

Office of Research