The program emphasizes basic research in the fields of genetics, cell biology and development through the use of model organisms such as yeast, Chlamydomonas, Arabidopsis, C. elegans, Drosophila, Dictyostelium, zebrafish and mice. There is also a strong group of faculty that study human genetic diseases including cancer, ataxia, muscular dystrophy, and immunologic deficiencies. Faculty members have appointments in various departments in the College of Biological Sciences, the Medical School, the College of Science and Engineering, the College of Agriculture, and the School of Veterinary Medicine.
Students begin their training in the Molecular, Cellular, Structural Biology (MCSB) graduate studies, a joint first-year program between MCDB&G and Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics (BMBB). Students are able to explore the offerings of both programs for the first academic year before deciding on which program they would like to enter.
MCDB&G graduate students undertake state-of-the-art research and publish their research in prestigious journals. They have won nationally competitive pre-doctoral fellowships from the NIH, NSF and the American Heart Association.