The Ph.D. Program in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental and Neural Biology

In the Molecular, Cellular, Developmental and Neural Biology (MCDN) program, students seeking their Ph.D. degree in Biology will find a combination of strengths that regularly propels graduates into successful careers in academia, government, biomedicine, and industry. MCDN has a long record of producing successful graduates, many of whom now hold faculty positions at other universities.

Advanced research

MCDN enables Ph.D. students to gain multidisciplinary expertise in cellular biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, neurobiology, and other disciplines, while studying biological systems that range from viruses to mammals. Many professors in the program are recognized for their research in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, RNA biology, and neuroscience. Recent projects have focused on such areas as cell-cell signaling, the biology of introns, the regulation of bacterial gene expression, RNA folding, and a forward engineering approach to cancer drug discovery.

State-of-the-art facilities

Research and education for MCDN students take place in the multidisciplinary Life Sciences Research Building and the Biological Sciences Building. These spacious facilities provide access to live confocal imaging as well as core facilities for molecular biology, tissue culture, chemistry, and RNA science.

What Students Say…
  • “The department encourages collaborations within and outside the department, which allows graduate students to broaden their scope of thinking.”
  • “It has been a great first year where I have been able to meet many inspiring individuals, both faculty and students, who have generously helped me with their advice and guidance.”
  • “...my research experience has been extremely rewarding.”
  • “...continuing my education was necessary to explore my own ideas and questions in the field”
  • “I felt very fortunate that the RNA Institute was opening, and the Life Sciences Research Building at UAlbany was quite impressive.”
  • “I was able to try different types of research working with different model organisms and methodologies”
  • “The location of the university and the opportunities for collaborations with different departments and institutions is a major attraction.”

Collaborations and partnerships

MCDN students work closely with MCDN faculty, fellow students, and research staff within their own core area and well beyond. The open laboratory and space in the Life Sciences Building facilitates interaction among research groups in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and psychology, leading to innovative collaborations across disciplines. In addition, doctoral degree students often participate in research with other advanced institutions, including the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health, Albany Medical Center, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

Opportunities to teach

Students pursuing their Ph.D. degree in Biology have access to an exceptional array of teaching experiences - with a requirement to TA for one year. The Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership, located on the UAlbany campus, supports the development of key teaching skills, including communication and presentation.

Centers and initiatives

Students working on relevant projects have access to the RNA Institute (located within the Life Sciences Building) and the Center for Functional Genomics (located on the East Campus).

Next Steps

For more information on requirements for admissions to the Ph.D. in Biology program, please visit our requirements page. Find out about financial support available to Ph.D. students. To learn more about applying, visit our How to Apply page.