Cell Biology & Neuroscience


The Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience 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 and post-doctoral fellows 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

  • Kang E, Wu J, Gutierrez NM, Koski A, Tippner-Hedges R, Agaronyan K, Platero-Luengo A, Martinez-Redondo P, Ma H, Lee Y, Hayama T, Van Dyken C, Wang X, Luo S, Ahmed R, Li Y, Ji D, Kayali R, Cinnioglu C, Olson S, Jensen J, Battaglia D, Lee D, Wu D, Huang T, Wolf DP, Temiakov D, Belmonte JC, Amato P, Mitalipov S. Mitochondrial replacement in human oocytes carrying pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutations. Nature, 540 (7632): 270-5, December 2016.
  • 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.
  • Prouty EW, Waterhouse BD, Chandler DJ. Corticotropin releasing factor dose-dependently modulates excitatory synaptic transmission in the noradrenergic nucleus locus coeruleus. Eur J Neurosci, 1-11, December 2016.
  • Lee J, Borukhov S. Bacterial RNA Polymerase-DNA Interaction-The Driving Force of Gene Expression and the Target for Drug Action. Front Mol Biosci, 3(73); 1 – 15, November 2016.
  • Dalli J, Vlasakov I, Riley IR, Rodriguez AR, Spur BW, Petasis NA, Chiang N, Serhan CN. Maresin conjugates in tissue regeneration biosynthesis enzymes in human macrophages. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 113(43): 12232-7, October 2016.
Webpage Updated January 2017

Faculty in the News

  • Dr. Paola Leone Receives Innovators Award

    Dr. Paola Leone, professor and director of the Cell and Gene Therapy Center in the Department of Cell Biology, was presented with an 'Innovators Award' at the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame dinner on October 27 for her gene therapy work. The annual awards dinner honors inventors, organizations and others who have contributed to innovation in the state.

  • 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.”

  • Wu H, Rodriguez AR, Spur BW, Venkataraman V. An Acute Retinal Model for Evaluating Blood Retinal Barrier Breach and Potential Drugs for Treatment. J Vis Exp, 115, September 2016. Video Link


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