Molecular and Cell Biology

University of California, Berkeley


The teaching and research activities of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) concern the molecular structures and processes of cellular life and their roles in the function, reproduction, and development of living organisms.

This agenda covers a broad range of specialized disciplines, including biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology, structural biology, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, cell biology, developmental biology, tumor biology, microbiology, immunology, pathogenesis and neurobiology.

The types of living organisms from which the departmental faculty draws its working materials are as diverse as its disciplinary specializations — ranging from viruses and microbes through plants, roundworms, annelids, arthropods, and mollusks, to fish, amphibia, and mammals.

The faculty of the department is organized into five divisions: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Cell and Developmental Biology; Genetics, Genomics, and Development; Neurobiology; and Immunology and Pathogenesis.

Research Facilities

The Cancer Research Laboratory is a research institute on the Berkeley campus that carries on a research, teaching, and service program designed to foster interdepartmental participation in cancer research. Some of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology faculty are also members of the Cancer Research Laboratory. The central research program represents a multidisciplinary approach to an understanding of the mechanism of neoplastic transformation using a variety of systems. Graduate student and postdoctoral research programs are supported in various areas of tumor biology, biochemistry, cell biology, endocrinology, genetics, immunology, molecular biology, and tumor virology. The Cancer Research Laboratory also operates three research facilities:

  1. Flow Cytometry Facility
  2. Molecular Imaging Center
  3. Gene Targeting Facility

Instrumentation in the facilities is operated by highly trained staff, and training is offered in methods and techniques associated with each facility. For more information, visit the CRL website.

The Functional Genomics Laboratory at Berkeley enables researchers to conduct state-of-the-art research in functional genomics, with a focus on using Next Generation sequencing technologies. These technologies include the sequencing of entire genomes of selected model systems and the ability to survey genome-wide patterns of gene expression and now allow the dissection of biological processes at unprecedented levels of detail. In particular, this research facility provides the infrastructure, technologies, and computational resources for the performance of DNA microarray experiments, which allow the analysis of mRNA expression from tens of thousands of genes at a time. The Functional Genomics Laboratory currently possesses all the equipment necessary for conducting DNA microarray experiments, including thermal cyclers; fluidics robots; microarray printing robots; laser-scanning microscopes for microarray scanning; an Affymetrix workstation and scanner; and dedicated computers for data analysis and storage of informatics databases. For more information, go to this website.

The Robert D. Ogg Electron Microscope Laboratory is an instructional and research unit of the College of Letters and Science. It houses equipment for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The staff is skilled not only in the operation and maintenance of instruments but also in standard and most specialized techniques of sample preparation. Qualified undergraduates and graduate students, postdoctoral associates, faculty, and research staff in biological and physical sciences, once trained, may make arrangements for use of the instruments in research. Instruction is provided both in classes and in individual training. Registered students and faculty are not charged for training. Nominal charges are made for use of the laboratory for individual research work. With permission from the director, non-UC personnel can be accepted for training or laboratory use. Equipment can be used outside normal hours. The laboratory provides demonstrations of the electron microscope and preparative techniques for on-campus classes and can make special arrangements for tour groups. For more information, go to this website.

Undergraduate Programs

Molecular and Cell Biology: BA

Graduate Program

Molecular and Cell Biology: PhD

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Molecular and Cell Biology

Contact Information

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology

142 Weill Hall #3200

Phone: 510-642-2651

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Undergraduate Advising

Undergraduate Affairs Office

3060 Valley Life Sciences Building

Phone: 510-643-8895

Graduate Advising

Graduate Affairs Office

299 Weill Hall

Phone: 510-642-5252

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