Research in Cell Biology and Developmental Biology at UVA features rich and diverse training in modern Cell and Developmental Biology from a creative and internationally-recognized faculty. These programs highlight cutting-edge ongoing research that addresses fundamental problems directed at both cellular (membrane and cytoskeletal dynamics, signal transduction, mitosis, cell adhesion, motility, mechanotransduction, polarity) and higher-levels of biological organization to include embryonic patterning, morphogenetic movements, tissue morphogenesis and repair. These areas of interest are being pursued in a variety of biological contexts that include cell culture models, tissues, and embryos, with profound relevance to disease mechanisms.

Research in all of these areas employ the latest cellular, molecular, biophysical, and microscopic technologies. Studies employing engineered mutant mice, Drosophila, Xenopus, and Zebrafish offer a range of venues for investigating fundamental mechanisms in how proteins function in cellular contexts, their relationship to cell division, differentiation into diverse cell types, morphogenesis at the cellular and multicellular levels, and the integration across cells and tissues. Training in cell and developmental biology forms the basis not only for making fundamental new discoveries, but also for understanding and exploring the links to human diseases where the fundamental processes of cytoskeletal dynamics, signal transduction, mitosis, cell adhesion, motility, mechanotransduction, and polarity go awry.

The graduate program in Cell and Developmental Biology fosters a culture of collaboration that extends beyond any single department. Students commonly participate in institution-wide training programs in cancer biologycell biology and molecular biologybiotechnology, and cardiovascular research which are funded by NIH training grants. The collegial and highly interactive learning environment incorporates seminars, journal clubs, colloquia, and research-in-progress presentations by students, postdocs, and faculty.


  • Paul N. Adler
    Planar signaling, polarity and morphogenesis.
  • Huiwang Ai
    Spatiotemporal Regulation of Biological Signaling; Protein Engineering for Imaging, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics
  • Robert A. Bloodgood
    Cell-Surface Glycoprotein Dynamics and Cell Locomotion
  • George S. Bloom
    Pathogenic mechanisms in Alzheimer's Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders
  • James E. Casanova
    Role of Arf family GTPases in vesicular transport and cytoskeleton assembly.
    Cell Biology of bacterial pathogenesis.
    The innate immune response to bacterial infection.
  • Jeffrey T. Corwin
    Regeneration and Developmental Biology of the Hearing and Balance Organs in the Vertebrate Ear.
  • Alison K. Criss
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of Neisserial pathogenesis
  • Douglas W. DeSimone
    Cell Adhesion and Adhesion-Dependent Cell Signaling in Vertebrate Morphogenesis
  • Christopher Deppmann
    Elucidating and Understanding the Mechanisms Underlying Nervous System Development
  • Bimal N. Desai
    Ion channels and Ca2+-signaling in inflammation, immunity and tissue homeostasis
  • Noelle Dwyer
    Neural Development; Cell Division in Neural Stem Cells; Axon Outgrowth and Guidance
  • Jennifer Guler
    Cell Biology and Parasitology.
  • Adrian J. Halme
    Regeneration and Systemic Responses to Tissue Damage
  • Barry T. Hinton
    Morphogenesis of the Developing Wolffian/Epididymal duct
  • Hao Jiang
    Regulation of stem cell function and tumorigenicity by epigenetics and biomolecular condensation
  • Yashar Kalani
    Stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, stroke, Wnt signaling, neurogenesis, vasculogenesis, angiogenesis
  • David F Kashatus
    The Role of Mitochondrial Fusion and Fission in Tumorigenesis.
  • Raymond E. Keller
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis
  • Anne Kenworthy
    Architecture and function of biological membranes
  • Keith G. Kozminski
    Regulation of Polarized Morphogenesis
  • Sarah C Kucenas
    The role of glia in the development, maintenance and regeneration of the nervous system
  • Gordon W. Laurie
    Role of Prosecretory Mitogen 'Lacritin' in Epithelial Homeostasis, Secretion and Innate Defense
  • Matthew Lazzara
    Cellular Engineering
  • Xiaowei Lu
    Developmental regulation of planar cell polarity in the mammalian nervous system
  • Kristen Naegle
    Regulation and function of tyrosine phosphorylation in complex networks
  • Eyleen Jorgelina O'Rourke
    Obesity and Aging
  • Jose Oberholzer
    Biotechnology and Biomolecular Engineering (Biomolecular Design, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering)
  • David Parichy
    Developmental Genetics, Evolution and Regeneration of Adult Morphology in Vertebrates
  • Kwon-Sik Park
    Mechanisms of organ development and homeostasis and tumor development
  • Lucy F. Pemberton
    Nuclear Transport in Chromatin Assembly and Transcriptional Regulation
  • Kenneth Kevin Pfister
    Regulation of Cytoplasmic Dynein for Membrane Bounded Organelle Trafficking in Axons
  • Kodi S. Ravichandran
    Apoptotic cell clearance mechanisms in health and disease
  • Stefanie Redemann
    Spindle assembly, the structure function relation and the basics of the huge variability of spindle size, architecture and mechanics between different tissues as well as different species
  • Dorothy A. Schafer
    Mechanisms of actin assembly during cell migration and membrane traffic
  • Jung-Bum Shin
    Auditory Neurobiology
  • Sarah Siegrist
    Regulation of neural stem cell proliferation during development and adulthood
  • P. Todd Stukenberg
    Mechanisms of chromosome segregation in Mitosis and generation of Chromosomal Instability in tumors
  • Ann E. Sutherland
    Cell behavior and morphogenesis during early mouse development.
  • Lukas K. Tamm
    Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions
  • Christine I. Thisse
    Molecular Mechanisms of Early Vertebrate Development and Morphogenesis. Application to Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
  • Bernard V. Thisse
    Molecular control of embryonic development
  • Scott B. Vande Pol
    How Viruses, Particularly Papillomaviruses, Can Cause Cancer
  • Judith M. White
    Virus Entry into Cells: Mechanisms and Development of Anti-Viral Therapeutics
  • Bettina Winckler
    Endosomal function and dysfunction in neurons. Development of the nervous system: cytoskeleton and membrane traffic in axon and dendrite growth.
  • David Wotton
    Regulation of Gene Expression, Development and Tumor Progression by TGF beta Signaling
  • Jing Yu
    Mammalian kidney development
  • Scott O. Zeitlin
    Mechanisms of Huntington's Disease Pathogenesis
  • Hui Zong
    Early detection, cancer prevention, and tumor microenvironment