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The Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics (MCBG) program is an interdisciplinary graduate program recognizing the need for highly trained scientists conversant across various disciplines.

The program provides a broad education-training program for graduate students interested in biomedical problems that cross disciplinary boundaries and offers the opportunity for students to choose from approximately 60 faculty in 10 different departments/centers to pursue their research interests. This program offers both MS and PhD degrees and focuses on the study of the structure, function and makeup of biologically important molecules within the context of the living cells.

Our faculty are at the forefront of new advances in the biomedical sciences and new developments in techniques for understanding the genetic and molecular basis of developmental pathways and disease states such as cancer, aging, AIDS, malaria and neurological disorders. Consequently, students can pursue a diverse variety of projects that range from the design and development of new therapeutic treatment strategies to the characterization of the molecular mechanisms that underlie various cellular processes and diseases. This intensive and research-oriented program provides students with opportunities to perform cutting edge biomedical research employing multidisciplinary strategies.

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See our areas of research interest

A Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics program graduate student working in the laboratory.

Program Guidelines

All students must successfully complete the core curriculum before advancing the specific program requirements for their degree. The core curriculum is a comprehensive interdisciplinary program of study for all first year master's and doctoral students in the biomedical science programs. The goal of the core curriculum is to provide a broad foundation in biomedical sciences and serve as a framework for advanced study in more specialized areas.

Learn more about the core curriculum

In addition to the core curriculum and other required courses, in the first year, student must complete the research laboratory rotations. These research rotations give students the opportunities to obtain broad research training and help them select a thesis research advisor by the end of the first twelve months. In the second year, students begin thesis research and take several advanced courses, tailored to the students' individual interests.

The Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics program offers a weekly seminar series with invited external and internal speakers who address the program's broad research interests. Journal Club members meet weekly in an informal setting to present results of interest from the current literature.

In the Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics Master's program, the focus is on strengthening the student's grasp of molecular biology and biotechnology and on providing knowledge of research methods available in the fast-expanding field. The program offers both a thesis-based degree and a non-thesis based degree tracks. In the thesis track, MS students will have specific research goals, relating a chosen area of molecular & cellular biology & genetics. In the non-thesis track, students can earn the MS degree by taking additional classes and writing a literature review paper. A minimum of two years of full-time study is required for a master's degree.

The Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics PhD program trains individuals to become independent researchers and educators in related fields of studies. The PhD candidates must pass a qualifying examination by November 1st of their third year. During the course of the program, the PhD candidates must also submit at least one manuscript and prepare a second manuscript for publication. The average amount of time required to complete the PhD requirements is five years.

Upcoming and Recent Events

September 8, 1 p.m.
Liming Pei, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Student host: Zach Bacigalupa
Geary Hall B

September 15, 1 p.m.
Kritika Hanamshet, MCBG student (Mazin Lab, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
Geary Hall A

September 22, 1 p.m.
Kazuko Nishikura, PhD, Professor, Gene Expression and Regulation Program, Wistar Institute
Student Host: Marina Tuyishime
Geary Hall B

September 29, 1 p.m.
Katherine Innamorati, MCBG student (Marenda Lab, Department of Biology)
Lecture Hall A

October 6, 1 p.m.
Jasmine Peake, MCBG student (Noguchi Lab, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
Geary Hall B

October 13, 1 p.m.
Mitchell A. Lazar, MD, PhD, Sylvan H. Eisman Professor of Medicine and Genetics; Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism; Director, Institute of Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism. University of Pennsylvania
Student host: Kelly Donovan
Geary Hall B

October 27, 1 p.m.
Kathryn Wellen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Cancer Biology, University of Pennsylvania
Student host: Zach Bacigalupa
Geary Hall B

How to apply to the Molecular & Cell Biology & Genetics program

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