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Molecular and Cellular Biology

  • Program Overview

    Description of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program

    The Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program offers a multidisciplinary course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree. Diverse biological systems of study from plants to humans are pursued in MCB research laboratories. These systems are used to investigate a variety of biological topics including: Cancer, Infectious Disease, Gene Expression, Structural Biology, Neurobiology, DNA Replication, Development, Immune Response, Cell Cycle, Protein Trafficking, Signal Transduction, and Biological Membranes. The MCB Program provides students with the opportunity to select an academic program in one of three specializations:

    1.        Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

    2.        Cellular and Developmental Biology

    3.        Immunology and Pathology.

    Each of the specializations enhances knowledge within the field to ensure our graduates are well equipped for a successful career in research.

    The program of study in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry includes Physical Biochemistry and any of a number of electives. Training stresses biochemical and structural approaches to solve biological problems. The program of study in Cellular and Developmental Biology includes a course in Developmental Biology and any of a number of electives. Emphasis is placed on the control mechanisms that define and regulate growing and developing systems. The program of study in Immunology and Pathology includes courses in Immunology and General Pathology. This area of specialization emphasizes the cellular and molecular basis of human disease to foster a bridge between basic and clinical research.

    The goal of this approach is to provide the student with the widest range of research possibilities. During the first year, students participate in several core courses that serve to build a scholastic foundation for further study. The core courses include Graduate Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics, and Cell Biology. In addition, students receive training to critically evaluate original research articles in a Journal Club/Readings course. Students can select an area of specialization at the time of enrollment or they can decide on a course of study during their first year.

    The MCB Program involves students in ongoing research projects as soon as they arrive on campus. During the first academic year, students train in four different research laboratories to help in choosing a mentor for thesis dissertation. The first laboratory training, or rotation, is usually at Stony Brook University, but subsequent rotations can be performed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory or Brookhaven National Laboratory. The MCB Program crosses departmental boundaries and institutions to offer the student thesis research training in nearly 100 different laboratories. A decision for a thesis advisor is generally made by the end of the first academic year and research studies will subsequently form the foundation of a Ph.D. thesis.

    All students in the MCB Program gain experience and skills in teaching and oral presentation of their research studies. Students assist in teaching undergraduate laboratory or lecture courses during two consecutive semesters, usually the second and third semesters. The teaching experience can include assistance in formulation/grading of examinations and individual tutoring sessions. In the third and subsequent years graduate students present their research progress to other students and faculty in a seminar forum. The student seminars are an opportunity to gain communication skills and to learn about ongoing research of other students in different laboratories. In addition to student seminars, a number of faculty from outside the institution are invited for weekly seminars. These are opportunities to meet visiting scientists who are leaders in their field and to learn of their latest findings.

    In the second year of the MCB Program students take a comprehensive qualifying exam. Following successful performance, students focus on their thesis research. By the end of the second year, students prepare a written Ph.D. Thesis Proposal in consultation with their faculty thesis advisor. The proposal is defended orally before a proposal committee comprised of faculty selected by the student. Following successful defense of the proposal, the student advances to candidacy and the proposal committee along with the faculty advisor become the student’s Ph.D. Thesis Committee. The Ph.D. Thesis Committee meets at least once a year with the student to assess progress and discuss research strategies.

    For more information, visit www.sunysb.edu/biochem/mcb.

  • Admissions

    Admission requirements for the Molecular & Cellular Biology Graduate Program

    In addition to the minimum requirements of the Graduate School, the following are suggested requirements:

    A. A bachelor’s degree with the following minimal preparation: mathematics through one year of calculus, chemistry (including organic chemistry and laboratory), general physics, and one year of biology (including laboratory);

    B. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in undergraduate courses including science and mathematics courses;

    C. Letters from three previous instructors;

    D. A report of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores;

    E. Acceptance by both the Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Graduate School. In special cases, students not meeting requirements A and B may be admitted on a provisional basis. These students must act to remedy deficiencies within the first year according to the program’s requirements.

  • Degree Requirements

    Requirements for the PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology

    A. Course Requirements

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Specialization:

    1. Molecular Genetics (MCB 503)

    2. Graduate Biochemistry (MCB 520)

    3. Biomembranes (MCB 517)

    4. Cell Biology (MCB 656)

    5. Structural Biology and Spectroscopy (MCB 512)

    6. One approved elective graduate course

    7. Students in their first academic year also rotate in four laboratories with the goal of selecting an environment for their thesis research.

    8. Participation in Journal Club (MCB 531, MCB 532); Student Seminars (MCB 603, MCB 604); Visiting Scientists Seminars (MCB 601, MCB 602)

    9. Enrollment in the first year in Ethics (GRD 500)

    10. Enrollment in the first semester in Computational Methods in Biochemistry and Structural Biology (BSB 515)

    Cell and Developmental Biology Specialization:

    1. Molecular Genetics (MCB 503)

    2. Graduate Biochemistry (MCB 520)

    3. Biomembranes (MCB 517)

    4. Cell Biology (MCB 656)

    5. Developmental Biology (MCB 657)

    6. One approved elective graduate course

    7. Students in their first academic year also rotate in four laboratories with the goal of selecting an environment for their thesis research.

    8. Participation in journal club (MCB 531/532); Student Seminars (MCB 603, MCB 604); Visiting Scientists Seminars (MCB 601, MCB 602)

    9. Enrollment in the first year in Ethics (GRD 500)

    10. Enrollment in the first semester in Computational Methods in Biochemistry and Structural Biology (BSB 515)

    Immunology and Pathology Specialization:

    1. Molecular Genetics (MCB 503)

    2. Graduate Biochemistry (MCB 520)

    3 Biomembranes (MCB 517)

    4. Cell Biology (MCB 656)

    5. General Pathology (HBP 531)

    6. Immunology (HBP 533)

    7. Students in their first academic year also rotate in four laboratories with the goal of selecting an environment for their thesis research.

    8. Participation in journal club (HBP 590); Student Seminars (MCB 603, MCB 604); Visiting Scientists Seminars (MCB 601, MCB 602)

    9. Enrollment in the first year in Ethics (GRD 500)

    10. Enrollment in the first semester in Computational Methods in Biochemistry and Structural Biology (BSB 515)

    Students must achieve a B or better in all required courses and must maintain a B average in elective courses.

    B. Qualifying Examination
    At the beginning of the fourth semester, the student must pass a written qualifying examination.

    C. Research Proposal
    Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student writes a research proposal based on the probable area of the student’s Ph.D. dissertation. The proposal is defended orally to a faculty examination committee that does not include the student’s research advisor. The proposal examination normally takes place by the end of the second year. After passing the proposal examination, the faculty committee and Ph.D. research advisor usually become the student’s Ph.D. thesis committee and meet with the student at least once a year to follow his or her thesis progress.

    D. Teaching Experience
    All students are required to gain experience in teaching by assisting in laboratory sections, leading discussion sections, or helping to formulate and grade examination papers. The teaching experience may be in either undergraduate or graduate courses, and extends over a period of two semesters.

    E. Advancement to Candidacy
    When the above requirements have been satisfactorily completed, a recommendation for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. will be forwarded to the Graduate School.

    F. Ph.D. Dissertation
    During the second year, the student initiates a dissertation research project in the laboratory of a particular member of the program faculty. After the student has passed the proposition examination, a research committee is appointed to guide the dissertation research, and when the research nears completion, a dissertation examining committee is appointed by the dean of the Graduate School.

    G. Dissertation Defense
    The dissertation defense, which completes the requirements for the Ph.D., consists of a public seminar presentation of the dissertation work followed by an oral examination before the dissertation examining committee. Successful completion of the Ph.D. degree requires that a candidate publish a first-authored paper in a refereed journal.  The paper must be published, accepted, or in press by the time of the thesis defense.

    H. Residence Requirement
    The University requires at least two consecutive semesters of full-time graduate study. The demands of the course of study necessitate a longer period of residence.

    I. MCB Policies for Master's Degrees  

    The MCB program does not enroll new students in a Masters program; however, the program does provide its active Ph.D. students the option for a terminal Master's degree.

    In addition, the student must:

    1. Complete 30 credits of Graduate Course work from the approved PhD curriculum in Molecular and Cellular Biology, with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

    2. Take the qualifying exam and achieve a grade considered satisfactory for a M.A. 

    3. Prepare a written Thesis. The thesis need not contain a significant amount of experimental data.  It will be sufficient for such a thesis to review the background of a research project initiated by the student, plus a description of the experimental strategy that was to be undertaken, and any results obtained.

    For a student who has achieved a satisfactory grade in the qualifier exam, maintained progress towards the Ph.D., and has conditionally passed the Proposition Exam, a written Thesis will not be required.  The written portion of the Proposition Exam will be considered an acceptable substitute for the thesis.

    Please note that students who opt for either an M. A. or M. Phil. degree are no longer eligible to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the MCB program.

     

  • Facilities

    Facilities of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program

    The Biological Sciences Division and Health Sciences Center are well equipped for work in developmental and cellular biology. Individual faculty laboratories and central services provide a full array of state-of-the-art equipment. These include the Flow Cytometry Facility, the Cell Culture and Hybridoma Facility, the Transgenic Mouse Facility, the University Microscopy Imaging Center, and the Center for Analysis and Synthesis of Macromolecules. (proteomic and metabolomics). The Health Sciences Library contains a comprehensive collection of biomedical journals and books and is complemented by the Melville Library on the main campus.

  • Faculty
  • Contact

    The Molecular and Cellular Biology Program

    Graduate Program Director
    Wali Karzai, CMM Building, Room 244, (631) 632-1688

    Graduate Program Coordinator
    Amy Saas, Life Sciences Building, Room 338, Tel: (631) 632-8613

    Degree Awarded
    Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology

    Web Site
    http://www.stonybrook.edu/biochem/mcb/

    Application
    https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantLogin.asp?id=sunysb-gs

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