Cell Biology


The Department of Cell Biology pursues the dual mission of advancing biomedical research and education. Our small yet highly interactive group of investigators is committed to training research scientists in cutting-edge biomedical approaches, as well as supporting the education of medical students in the basic science courses that form the foundation for their future learning and clinical studies.


Our faculty have diverse research interests including topics such as: the molecular biology of gene regulation and expression, cell cycle, aging and studies of neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Research in the Department has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association, the Canavan Disease Foundation, the Department of Defense and other public and private organizations. Over the past few years our faculty have published articles in some of the most prestigious journals in our fields, including:  Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Cell, and Shock.


The Department has over 17,000 square feet of research space in the Science Center.  Of this, 12,000 square feet is devoted to individual investigator laboratories and offices and 5,000 square feet is devoted to common and shared facilities, classrooms, and conference rooms.  Our core facilities include a number of specialized instruments such as laser capture microdissection and confocal microscopes, a Bruker MALDI-TOF mass spec for protein analysis, a KinTek stopped-flow apparatus for kinetic analyses, and molecular modeling graphic stations. For a more complete list of our resources, please contact the Department of Cell Biology Administration Office.

Translational Research

Our Faculty have developed technologies of potential commercial application, and have numerous patent applications or disclosures in such areas as molecular diagnostics, gene therapy, nanotechnology, and anti-inflammatory therapy.  Located within the Department are the Gene Therapy Center and the Molecular Marker/Proteomic Facility.  In recent years  over 70% of patent activities from the SOM Campus have involved members of our faculty. 


Our growing Department offers a high faculty-to-student ratio and welcomes new students to join us in an exciting atmosphere. Our mission includes a commitment to teaching medical school courses, a highly active doctoral program (including a Ph.D./DO track), and a number of Masters programs. We also invest in the future by hosting a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program for undergraduate students considering graduate education in the biomedical sciences.

Barry Waterhouse, PhD, Professor - Chair

Publication Highlights

  • Francis JS, Wojtas I, Markov V, Gray SJ, McCown TJ, Samulski RJ, Bilaniuk LT, Wang DJ, De Vivo DC, Janson CG, Leone P. N-acetylaspartate supports the energetic demands of developmental myelination via oligodendroglial aspartoacylase. Neurobiol Dis, 96: 323-334, December 2016.
  • Wang M, Pestov DG. Quantitative Northern Blot Analysis of Mammalian rRNA Processing. Methods Mol Biol, 1455: 147-57, August 2016.
  • Shcherbik N, Chernova TA, Chernoff YO, Pestov DG. Distinct types of translation termination generate substrates for ribosome-associated quality control. Nucleic Acids Res,44(14): 6840-52, August 2016.
  • Krishnan A, Viviano J, Morozov Y, Venkataraman V. Single-column purification of the tag-free, recombinant form of the neuronal calcium sensor protein, hippocalcin expressed in Escherichia coli. Protein Expr Purif, 123: 35-41, July 2016.
  • Wu B, Capilato J, Pham MP, Walker J, Spur B, Rodriguez A, Perez LJ, Yin K. Lipoxin A4 augments host defense in sepsis and reduces Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence through quorum sensing inhibition. FASEB J, 30(6): 2400-10, June 2016.
Webpage Updated October 2016

Faculty in the News

  • August 2016; U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross announced an NIH grant was awarded to RowanSOM - Dr. Natalia Shcherbik - Principal Investigator, for her work entitled “Translational Rescue Mechanisms in Eukaryotes.”

  • Science Daily - Dr. Leone
    First Use of a Gene Therapy Shows Promise Against Fatal Childhood Disease


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