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Cornell Cell Biology

Welcome from the Chair

Frederick R. Maxfield, PhD
Horowitz Professor, Chairman of Biochemistry,
Interim Chairman of Cell & Developmental Biology

The Department of Cell and Developmental Biology has entered its second century at Weill Cornell Medical College. Since 1898, the department's focus has evolved from the study of human anatomy, to the elucidation of subcellular structure, to the analysis of processes that regulate dynamic cell function and differentiation. A major expansion begun in 2002 has tripled the number of full-time faculty and graduate students, and more than doubled the number of postdoctoral associates.

The research interests of the faculty reflect the disparate challenges that confront biomedical science today. Several labs focus on fundamental processes in cell biology that relate to the function of oncogenes, the dynamic regulation of molecular motors, patterns of vesicular trafficking, modulation of cytoskeletal organization, establishment of cell polarity, and the control of cell surface proteolysis. Others address developmental mechanisms connected to germ cell differentiation, transcriptional repression, gene regulatory networks, tubulogenesis, myogenesis, angiogenesis, and patterning of skeletal, hematopoietic, and central nervous system tissues. This diverse "menu" offers unique opportunities for graduate trainees and postdoctoral fellows to develop an integrated approach to questions in cell and developmental biology.

In addition to mentoring students in their labs, faculty members teach in the basic sciences in both the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences. The Department also sponsors a biweekly seminar series, a bimonthly Frontiers in Science research conference, and an annual graduate program retreat. A center-wide Program in Angiogenesis hosted by the Department provides a model for seamless integration that transcends traditional departmental boundaries and capitalizes on the Medical Center's broad scientific expertise.

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