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GCD

The Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development spans a broad spectrum of biological disciplines, including the storage and expression of information (genetics), its translation into the workings of individual cells (cell biology), and the assembly of cells into tissues and organ systems (development). Here you will find a collection of news, features and opportunities for and about GCD.

A Lesson in Translating Science

Students in Molecular Biology and Society developed pandemic-themed projects to hone their science communication skills.


This spring, Molecular Biology and Society (Biology 3025) were asked not only to master scientific content but communicate it to the public.

Two 2021 Graduating GCD Students Named to Phi Beta Kappa

Two graduating seniors majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development were welcomed as members of Phi Beta Kappa this year. The graduates named to the society include:

Ivy JohnsonIvy Johnson

As an undergraduate, Ivy Johnson worked as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Deepali Sachdev in the Masonic Cancer Center. She

Summer Course: Bioinformatic Analysis (GCD 3485)

This course is an exploration of the emerging field of bioinformatics with a particular emphasis on gaining first-hand experience with how bioinformatics tools are used by investigators in biology.  By the end of the course, you will have acquired a working knowledge of a diverse range of bioinformatics applications and databases, as well as an understanding of how to interpret the data you find or generate by pursuing the characterization of a hypothetical human gene encoding a protein of unknown function.

Decoding RNA’s mysteries

Novel COVID-19 vaccines and some diagnostic tests use messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). Aaron Engelhart investigates ways to track the nucleic acid.


Ribonucleic acid (RNA) has received a lot of press recently.

An Award-Winning Educator

Ann RougvieDr. Ann Rougvie, professor of Genetics, Cell biology & Development, has been an outstanding contributor to undergraduate education in the College of Biological Sciences for nearly three decades.

Looking Back with Bonnie LeRoy

Long-term head of Genetic Counseling Bonnie LeRoy reflects back on her experience leading the program.

After many years of service, Bonnie LeRoy recently stepped down as head of the program this last spring. During her phased retirement, she plans to finish the revision of the second edition Genetic Counseling Practice: Advanced Concepts and Skills, work with some grads toward bringing some past student projects to publication and work with program faculty as a co-advisor for some of the current students who will graduate in May of 2021.

GCD faculty member brings expertise in immunodeficiency to collaborative research effort

A new grant allows researchers to test targeted approaches to sickle cell disease, Fanconi anemia and primary immunodeficiency.


From identifying foreign viruses to removing dead or dying cells, the immune system is comprised of a variety of cells performing distinct tasks. These cells develop from hematopoietic stem cells which are undifferentiated cells that reside in bone marrow, a spongy tissue inside of bones. Depending on a number of cues, hematopoietic stem cells will differentiate into specialized cells.

Identifying irregularities

A new grant allows researchers to explore oddities in the waning moments of the cell cycle, with implications for cancer therapies and Fanconi anemia research.

Naoko Shima

Easier Detection of Disease

Lauren Aufdembrink works to make virus detection, similar to COVID-19 PCR tests, easier and cheaper for providers.


Lauren AufdembrinkIn the midst of the pandemic, one of the most constant ways individuals worldwide have determined if they have COVID-19 is through PCR