Applying to the Graduate Program in Cell Biology

The Department of Cell Biology offers a program of study leading to the PhD. degree in Cell Biology. The goal of this program is to train students in cell and developmental biology to become independent, innovative and critical scientists fully prepared for productive careers in academic and other settings. The Department offers strengths in neuronal, molecular, developmental and stem cell biology.

Admission to the Program

The Cell Biology Department does not accept applications directly. Rather, students enter Cell Biology from any of the interdepartmental training programs:

Students interested in the research programs in Cell Biology should apply to the Graduate School, listing one of these programs. Admission to one of these programs guarantees funding for the term of the Ph.D. Some funding slots are available to foreign students. In the first year, a student should plan to do a lab rotation with any Cell Biology faculty of interest. All students who decide to do thesis work with a Cell Biology faculty member are accepted into the department, and maintain dual association with their interdepartmental program.


Top L: Di Talia Lab, Top Mid: Capel Lab, Top R: Eroglu Lab, Bottom L: Yildirim Lab, Bottom Mid: Tata Lab, Bottom R: Eroglu Lab

Top L: Di Talia Lab, Top Mid: Capel Lab, Top R: Eroglu Lab, Bottom L: Yildirim Lab, Bottom Mid: Tata Lab, Bottom R: Eroglu Lab

Lab Rotations and Choice of a Thesis Lab

Each first-year student is expected to complete a series of 3 laboratory rotations.

  • The student may choose the labs, subject to approval by laboratory directors;

  • Each rotation involves two to three months of work: the first rotation usually runs from September through November, the second from December through February, and the third from March through May.

  • In general, students are expected to spend about 15 hours weekly in laboratory work. We encourage students to discuss this expectation with the principal investigator before beginning the rotation.

At the end of each rotation, the student should expect to give a presentation to the laboratory director and/or prepare a brief report summarizing experiments and results. By offering detailed exposure to procedures and techniques in three separate lab settings, these rotations provide the basis for choosing a thesis laboratory.

Following the third rotation, a student selects a laboratory for thesis work and begins a research program there. The choice of thesis laboratory must be approved by the thesis advisor (who must have the funding, lab space, & resources to support the research) and by the Director of Graduate Studies.  Forms needed to affiliate with your new laboratory can be obtained from your admitting program DGSA.

Recruitment Opportunities:

The following faculty members in Cell Biology are currently recruiting Graduate Students.  Please click on the faculty's name to read more about their research:
Michel Bagnat
Blanche Capel
Stefano Di Talia
Cagla Eroglu
Chay Kuo
Terry Lechler
Chris Nicchitta
Ken Poss
Scott Soderling
Eda Yildirim


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