The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine supports and promotes research and teaching in molecular and cellular biology, stem cell biology and genetics and genomics in the School of Medicine at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).
CMM is central to UCSD’s efforts in stem cell biology, which lies at the forefront of much of recent excitement linking biology and medicine. Recent growth in CMM, partnered with Larry Goldstein (Professor in CMM and the Director of the UCSD Stem Cell Center), has emphasized stem cell biology. The Department has recently recruited a trio of stem cell biologists: Assistant Professors Gene Yeo and Alysson Muotri and Professor Maike Sander. CMM also recruited Professor David Traver in partnership with the Division of Biology at UCSD. All four -- Yeo, Muotri, Sander and Traver – are rising stars in stem cell biology.
Additionally, CMM is at the center of the explosive advances over the last decade in tools of genetics and genomics. Already with the most concentrated focus at UCSD in genetics and genomics – including Professors Chris Glass, Xiang-Dong Fu, Richard Kolodner and Bing Ren, and Professor Bruce Hamilton, CMM has recently recruited Professor Al La Spada, the initial discoverer of trinucleotide repeat expansions as a cause of human disease and Associate Professor Jonathan Sebat, whose discoveries of copy number variation in autism (in 2007) and in schizophrenia (in 2008) are two of the most prominent (and widely cited) contributions in deciphering the molecular events underlying these complex psychiatric disorders.
Areas classically within cell biology remain a core of CMM. Building on CMM’s initial strengths – deciphering mechanisms of protein secretion and membrane trafficking – in 2008, CMM successfully lured from Yale two preeminent, senior forces in cell biology: Professors Susan Ferro-Novick and Peter Novick.
The Department now stands at over 300 (23 faculty, 125 postdoctoral scholars, approximately 58 graduate students, and 74 research staff). CMM has major roles in teaching in both the medical student and graduate student curricula, especially in molecular cell biology and genetics and genomics. CMM also hosts a vibrant Seminar series in the biological/medical disciplines.
Areas of Faculty Research
The areas of investigation that are particularly well developed in the department at present include those in Molecular and Cell Biology (signaling during membrane trafficking, transcriptional regulation, role of molecular motors in vesicular trafficking, cell cycle control, mitosis, RNA splicing), Stem Cell Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Cancer Cell Biology and Glycobiology.
The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine offers a weekly seminar series bringing in outstanding scientists from other institutions to present their work. In addition, graduate students in molecular cell biology can participate in journal clubs and in an in-house seminar series and gain experience in presenting their work to the cell biology community.
Individual faculty operate core facilities in mouse phenotype analysis, modern, sophisticated techniques for confocal and deconvolution microscopy, electron microscopy, immunocytochemistry, immunoelectron microscopy, and glycobiology. Several faculty have spearheaded the development of the new Genomics Core at UCSD.
In the School of Medicine graduate training in cell biology is centered in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program where it constitutes one of the main areas of study. There are abundant opportunities within the department to investigate problems in modern molecular cell biology with investigators who are internationally recognized and working at the cutting edge of their discipline.
The majority of the faculty and the business office are centered in the George Palade Laboratories for Cellular and Molecular Medicine, the CMM-East and Leichtag Buildings. Individual faculty are also located in the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Natural Sciences Building.