About Cell and Developmental Biology

The Cell and Developmental Biology Department at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is a highly interactive multidisciplinary program with a faculty who are conducting paradigm shifting research into some of the most important and challenging areas of biomedicine. Our research faculty members are actively engaged in studies in two major areas of focus:  1) epigenetics and developmental biology, and 2) cell structure and dynamics.  Within these areas, specific research projects range from cell cycle control, reproduction, musculoskeletal biology, nuclear structure, stem cell biology, and cell senescence.  As further described in the Chair’s message our research bridges fundamental questions of developmental cell biology, and at the same time impacts many diseases, being studied in mammalian and human systems, including: tumorigenesis and aging, Down Syndrome, Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), Alzheimer disease, congenital blindness, among others.    

The Department of Cell and Developmental Biology currently occupies over 50,000 square feet of space on three floors of the main Medical School building. We have approximately 120 faculty, postdocs, research associates, students and staff.  The infrastructure of the department supports seventeen research labs and a large share of medical and graduate student education at the university. Our department is also proud to host the Wellstone Center for FSHD Research which studies the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, with the goal of developing therapeutics for this devastating disease. The department also provides several key services to the university community, such as our electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and transgenic animal modeling core facilities as well as service to the broader scientific community, as exemplified by the International Stem Cell Registry project.

The Cell and Developmental Biology faculty have attained national distinction in both research and medical education.  Several faculty members are consistently recognized for their distinction as outstanding educators, within UMMS and nationally. Our contributions to medical and graduate education ranges from molecular and cell biology, human genetics, embryology, histology, organ biology, gross anatomy and neuroanatomy. We are enthusiastic about our recent initiative to expand the graduate program to an inter-departmental initiative focused on development and human disease.

Roger Craig points out histological feature using virtual microscopy.
Charu doing research bench work
Jaime Rivera and summer student Ariel James
Digital Electron microscope