Cell Physiology & Molecular Biophysics
The Ph.D. program is designed primarily to train students for careers in biomedical and life sciences. Traditionally, graduates have found employment opportunities in academia and industry, including research and/or teaching in universities, biotechnology industry, and governmental agencies.
The core curriculum that is shared by all concentrations in the first semester of year 1 is used as a foundation for more specialized courses tailored to the students' specific needs. Faculty research programs are diverse, encompassing the general areas of structure-function studies, biochemistry and structural biology of membrane proteins, as well as some areas of cell and tissue physiology. Most of the research focuses on membrane proteins, and our Faculty has a close relationship with the Center for Membrane Protein Research (CMPR). Specific areas of research include membrane proteins (ion channels, transporters), membrane biophysics, and cell biology and physiology of the lung. The proteins of interest are associated with important diseases or disorders that include cardiac arrhythmias (potassium channels, connexins), genetic diseases (cystic fibrosis, migraine, deafness), neurological diseases (nAChR family; epilepsy, addiction, Alzheimer, Parkinson) and cancer (multidrug-resistance proteins, folate transporter).
Techniques that students may acquire vary widely and may include:
- Molecular biology (e.g., cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, library construction)
- Biochemistry (e.g., protein characterization, purification and activity)
- Biophysics (e.g., X-ray crystallography, electrophysiology (patch-clamp), spectroscopic methods that include fluorescence, FT-IR, CD, EPR)
- Cell biology (high-resolution imaging, biochemistry of cell signaling)
- Heterologous (over)expression of recombinant proteins
Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in research. All candidates for graduate degrees who hold assistantships must fulfill certain requirements while appointed as assistants.