UPenn Cell & Developmental Biology
About the Department
Cell biology and developmental biology are highly interdependent fields of biomedical research, with advances in one field pushing the boundaries of the other in the pursuit to understand of the complex biological processes that underlie cellular function and embryonic development. The genome revolution, in combination with equally revolutionary developments in cellular imaging and microscopy, now provide cell and developmental biologists with extraordinary experimental tools to investigate the complexity of gene regulatory pathways that propel embryonic development and the functional activities of cellular structures and organelles that mediate cellular functions, as well as a unique opportunity to apply this knowledge to understand of the cellular basis of specific human diseases and birth defects and to develop genetic and cell therapies to treat these disease conditions. Cell and developmental biology clearly have an exciting future for discovery in the biological and medical sciences.
The Department has twenty-one faculty with cutting edge research programs in cellular and developmental biology. Our developmental biologists pursue questions of how developmental signals and transcription regulatory networks transform apparently uniform, newly fertilized eggs into organisms with a complexity of specialized cells, tissues and organs, organized within a functional body plan. These studies utilize a diversity of model organisms, Drosophila, Zebrafish, Xenopus, Chick and Mouse, utilizing current genetic, molecular, biochemical and microscopy approaches. Our cell biologists utilize similar approaches to pursue questions of how individual cells control and execute complex cellular functions, including cell division, intracellular trafficking of ions and molecules, cell motility and muscle contraction.
The Department is located in an exciting research building with facilities emphasizing an open, interactive research and training environment, in proximity to researchers in related fields of reproductive biology and cancer biology. Graduate & postdoctoral training in our Department is directed to provide trainees exceptional experience and opportunities in cell and developmental biology research at the leading edge of discovery in the biomedical sciences.