Several pictures taken through microscope
Program Overview

Modern research in the biological sciences is increasingly multidisciplinary. Today, research in the biological sciences focuses less on single genes and proteins, and more on the complex interactions of multiple genes, macromolecules, and processes within a living organism. To provide the ideas and tools underlying this trend, biologists are embracing the complex technologies and quantitative methods of the physical sciences. Likewise, biophysicists are engaging in problems at the forefront of biology, directing their methods towards important and complex problems such as understanding genome organization, cell functions and molecular diseases.

The Program in Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics (CMDB) at Johns Hopkins is directed towards cross-training doctoral students in all of these areas. All of our graduate students, whether involved in research in cell biology, molecular biology, which includes genetics, developmental biology, and biophysics, which includes biochemistry, participate in a core curriculum involving molecular, cellular, developmental biology, and biophysics. Students continue to broaden their knowledge in these areas throughout their graduate training, while they specialize in their own research areas. Through this cross-training, Ph.D.s emerge from the CMDB with preparation to tackle complex problems in 21st century biosciences.

The CMDB program includes faculty from the Department of Biology, the T.C. Jenkins Department of Biophysics, the Carnegie Institute of Embryology, and the Department of Chemistry. The Hopkins Biology Graduate Program, founded in 1876, is the oldest Biology graduate school in the country. People like Thomas Morgan, E. B. Wilson, Edwin Conklin and Ross Harrison, were part of the initial graduate classes when the program was first founded. More recent graduates include Bonnie Bassler, who won a MacArthur Award in 2002. The T.C. Jenkins Department of Biophysics was the first Biophysics department in the US, and trained people like John Abelson, Paul Greengard (Nobel laureate, 2000), Wayne Hendrickson, and Tom Kelly. The Carnegie Institute of Embryology, founded in 1913, moved to the Homewood campus in 1960. This move initiated a close relationship with the JHU Department of Biology and bolstered a new research focus on understanding fundamental developmental mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level. Together, these departments provide a graduate training environment with rich tradition, diverse research interests, and a unified training mission.