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Cell and Molecular Biology

Graduate Program
Biomedical Science A 209
1960 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8552
Fax: (808) 956-9530
Web: www.hawaii.edu/cmb

Graduate Faculty

*Graduate Faculty

*D. S. Haymer, PhD (Chair)—molecular genetics of Diptera


*D. M. Jameson, PhD—energetics and dynamics of protein interactions; fluorescence spectroscopy
*K. Kumashiro, PhD—solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance
*S. E. Seifried, PhD—molecular recognition and transcriptional control
*A. G. Theriault, PhD—molecular biology of lipid metabolism and heart disease
*A. Yanagihara, PhD—biochemistry of neurotoxins, neuroactive compounds in cnadarians

Cancer Biology

*A. Bachmann, PhD—biology of membrane proteins in cancer
*J. S. Bertram, PhD—cancer preventative agents, gap junctions, and intercellular communication
*R. V. Cooney, PhD—carcinogenesis
*T. Donlon, PhD—molecular diagnostics of cancer
*L. N. Kolonel, MD, MPH, PhD—dietary and biomarker studies in multiethnic populations
*A. F. Lau, PhD—oncogenes, cellular transformation and signal transduction
*L. Le Marchand, MD, PhD—cancer epidemiology, breast cancer risk
*P. Lorenzo, PhD—diacylglycerols and their participation in carcinogenesis and malignant transformation
*C-W. Vogel, MD, PhD—biochemistry of cellular toxins, neuroblastoma
*R. K. Wada, MD—molecular oncology, oncogene regulation, tumor differentiation

Cell Signaling

*A. Fleig, PhD—excitation-contraction coupling in muscle
*R. Penner, MD, PhD—calcium signaling in neurons and immune cells
*H. Turner, PhD—molecular biology of ion channels in the immune and nervous system

Developmental Biology

*H. G. de Couet, PhD—neurogenetics, cytoskeleton, cell motility
*M. G. Hadfield, PhD—settlement and metamorphosis of marine invertebrate larvae
*T. D. Humphreys, PhD—immune system of sponges, evolutionary foundations of animal immunity, molecular biology of hemichordates
*S. Lozanoff, PhD—developmental biology and craniofacial development
*M. Martindale, PhD—cellular, molecular and evolutionary basis of biological pattern formation
*E. Seaver, PhD—segment polarity signals in annelids
*A. Wikramanayake, PhD—embryological techniques with modern applications to cell and molecular biology

Genetics and Molecular Biology

*M. Berry, PhD—Selenoprotein Synthesis
*R. L. Cann, PhD—molecular and evolutionary genetics of animal populations
*D. S. Haymer, PhD—molecular genetics of Diptera
*C. Le Saux, PhD—human genetic disorders, asthma, interleukins and pulmonary function
*O. Le Saux, PhD—genetic disorders, elastin, PXE, gene mapping
*T. W. Lyttle, PhD—structure of Drosophila heterochromatin, evolution of chromosomal rearrangements
*S. Robinow, PhD—hormonal regulation of central nervous system development of Drosophila melanogaster
*J. F. Scott, PhD—yeast DNA replication


*P. Blanchette, MD, MPH—diseases of old age, Alzheimer’s disease


*S. Chang, PhD—immunology, molecular approaches to vaccine development
*Y. Lu, PhD—retrovirology, herpes virus, infections in marine organisms
*V. Nerukar, PhD—viral pathogens, marine virology, molecular epidemiology
*P. Patek, PhD—cellular immunity
*E. Tam, MD—mast cell proteases, asthma, and immunology
*K. Yamaga, PhD—immunological mechanisms of disease
*R. Yanagihara, MD—viral pathogens, molecular phylogeny, emerging infections

Matrix Pathobiology

C. D. Boyd, PhD—molecular genetics of human connective tissue
*K. Csiszar, PhD—lysyl oxidase tumor suppressor family

Neurobiology / Neurophysiology

*D. C. Blanchard, PhD—psychopharmacology and neurobiology of behavior
*R. J. Blanchard, PhD—experimental ethology and ethnopharmacology
*I. Cooke, PhD—cellular neurobiology, peptidergic neurons in culture
*D. K. Hartline, PhD—small network neurophysiology
*P. A. Li, PhD—ischemic brain damage, diabetes, neurophysiology
*M. D. Rayner, PhD—sodium channel control mechanisms
*J. Stollberg, PhD—mechanisms of aggregation of acetycholine receptors

Plant Molecular Physiology

*D. Borthakur, PhD—regulation of genes in the rhizosphere bacteria by root exudates
*J. Hu, PhD—molecular biology of plant viruses

Reproduction Function

*G. Bryant-Greenwood, PhD—molecular and cell biology of human fetal membranes and decidua
*Y. Marikawa, PhD—molecular control of the body plan of vertebrate embyros
*L. Millar, MD—effects of distension on gene expression in human fetal membranes and decidua
*W. S. Ward, PhD—tertiary structure of DNA, nuclear structure, and genetic instability
*R. Yanagimachi, DSci—mammalian germ cells, assisted reproduction, cloning and transgenesis

Degrees Offered: MS in biomedical science (cell and molecular biology), PhD in biomedical science (cell and molecular biology)

The Academic Program

The cell and molecular biology (CMB) program in biomedical science represents an interdisciplinary approach to graduate education with faculty in many sub-disciplines of biology dedicated to helping qualified students pursue original research using technical innovations of modern molecular biology. The first cohort of students was admitted in August 2000. The CMB program brings together faculty from three colleges and three research institutes, all who share a desire to train the next generation of students in this fast-moving and conceptually challenging area. Planning for collaborative research is emphasized in this program, as well as solid training in a variety of laboratory techniques.

Master’s students fall into two categories, depending on whether they opt for a Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis). The MS Plan B is usually a terminal degree, appropriate for professionals in medical technology, government, and related fields who wish to obtain broad training in modern genetics to advance their credentials in their chosen fields. The completion of the MS Plan A serves as a qualifying examination for students who intend to continue toward the PhD in cell and molecular biology. It may also serve as a terminal degree for those who wish to pursue careers as research technicians, either in the public or private sector. Those who seek the PhD degree usually wish to make a career in college and university teaching and research, in research for industry and government, or in medicine, dentistry, or medical technology.

The CMB program provides fellowships for PhD students in their first year of training, and additional support in the way of teaching assistantships for qualified applicants after that time. Training in the program is intended to prepare students for careers in academia, in research institutes, and in the ever-expanding areas of biotechnology in the private sector.


For complete details regarding the program, contact Lyn Hamamura at lynn@hawaii.edu or visit the website at www.hawaii.edu/cmb.

Graduate Study

Applicants are expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree emphasizing biological or physical sciences with courses in calculus, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, and cellular and molecular biology. Applicants with MD degrees are welcome. Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test should be submitted with the application, and students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Three letters of recommendation from former instructors or research supervisors, a CMB program graduate express form, and transcripts from previous universities or colleges attended must also be submitted.

Master’s Degree

The core of the CMB program is a specialized lecture class, spanning two semesters (CMB 621-622). The remaining credit requirements can be fulfilled by specialized courses, seminars, and research units as recommended by the particular committee and research adviser each student picks to guide their academic program. Following the completion of the two semester core course, the student is expected to pass a qualifying exam, form a committee, and then propose, complete, and defend an original research project (MS Plan A) or study plan and research paper (MS Plan B).

Doctoral Degree

PhD candidates do not need to have completed a master’s degree. If an MS was not earned through the CMB program, the core lecture class is required (CMB 621-622). Formal course requirements beyond the core include additional courses specified by the dissertation committee, including CMB 626 Ethics in Biomedical Research and three laboratory rotations. The student is expected to form a committee, and then propose, complete, and defend an original research project.

Selected Specialized Courses

Cell Biology

  • BOT 617 Biological Electron Microscopy
  • BOT 674 Plant Growth and Development
  • HORT 614 Cellular Genetics of Crops
  • MICR 641 Ultrastructure of Cells
  • MICR 655 Advanced Virology
  • PMP 620 Plant Biochemistry
  • REPR 603 Biology of Gametes, Fertilization, and Embryos
  • ZOOL 610 Topics in Developmental and Reproductive Biology
  • TRMD 604 Infectious Disease Microbiology
  • TRMD 671 Advanced Medical Protozoology
  • TRMD 690 Seminar in Tropical Medicine and Public Health

Molecular Biology

  • BIOC 624 Protein Interaction
  • BIOC 730 Phage, Plasmids, and Recombinant DNA
  • BIOP 633 Nucleic Acids
  • CMB 680 Molecular Genetics
  • CMB 654 Seminars in Human, Molecular, and Evolutionary Genetics
  • CMB 625 Advanced Topics in Genetics
  • MICR 625 Advanced Immunology
  • MICR 661 Regulation of Gene Expression in Microorganisms
  • MICR 671 Advanced Microbial Genetics
  • PMP 673 Organization and Expression of the Plant Genome
  • PMP 680 Methods in Plant Molecular Biology


  • PHRM 640 Neuropharmacology
  • PHYL 606 Human Neurophysiology
  • PHYL 607 Membrane Physiology
  • PHYL 615 Introduction to Axonology
  • PHYL/ZOOL 642 Cellular Neurophysiology
  • ZOOL 712 Topics in Nerve/Muscle Physiology

CMB Courses