Home About UH Academic Calendar Courses Undergraduate Education Graduate Education Degrees, Minors, & Certificates Colleges, Schools, & Academic Units

Aging and Gerontology

Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

Communication and Information Sciences

Global Health and Population Studies

Graduate Interdisciplinary Specializations

Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

Marine Biology

Neurosciences Graduate Specialization

Interdisciplinary Studies

International Cultural Studies

Peace Studies

Resource Management


Neurosciences Graduate Specialization

John A Burns School of Medicine
BSB 222
651 Ilalo Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Tel: (808) 692-1514
Fax: (808) 692-1968
Web: www.hawaii.edu/cmb

Graduate Faculty

M.J. Berry, PhD (Co-chair)—selenoprotein synthesis
M. Gerschenson, PhD (Co-chair)—infectious diseases, HIV mitochondrial medicine


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
R. V. Cooney, PhD—carcinogenesis
T. Donlon, PhD—molecular diagnostics of cancer
D. C. Fritzinger, PhD—natural products and cancer biology
A. F. Lau, PhD—oncogenes, cellular transformation and signal transduction
L. Le Marchand, MD, PhD—cancer epidemiology, breast cancer risk
P. S. Lorenzo, PhD—diacylglycerols and their participation in carcinogenesis and malignant transformation
J. Ramos, PhD—MAP kinase pathway
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

R. Allsopp, PhD—cell 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

Genetics and Molecular Biology

M. J. Berry, PhD—selenoprotein synthesis
F. Bellinger, PhD—neurobiology of selenoproteins
R. L. Cann, PhD—molecular and evolutionary genetics of animal populations
M. Gerschenson, PhD—infectious diseases, HIV mitochondrial medicine
D. S. Haymer, PhD—molecular genetics of Diptera
P. Hoffmann, PhD—selenoproteins as related to immunology and cardiac disease
C. Jourdan 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
G. K. Ostrander, PhD—biochemical oncology and marine biology
J. Panee, PhD—selenoproteins and natural products as antioxidants
S. Robinow, PhD—neurogenetics
J. F. Scott, PhD—yeast DNA replication
A. J. Stokes, PhD—cardiac immunology and cell and molecular biology
Z. Stoytcheva, PhD—molecular biology of selenoproteins


P. Blanchette, MD, MPH—diseases of old age, Alzheimer’s disease
K. Masaki, MD—geriatric medicine


S. M. Callahan, PhD—bacterial genetics
S. P. Chang, PhD—immunology, molecular approaches to vaccine development
Y. Lu, PhD—retrovirology, herpes virus, infections in marine organisms
V. R. 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

K. Csiszar, PhD—lysyl oxidase tumor suppressor family


R. Shohet, MD—cardiovascular research
B. T. Shiramizu, MD—pediatrics


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
M. D. Rayner, PhD—sodium channel control mechanisms
L. K. Takahashi, PhD—behavioral neuroscience

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 embryos
M. Ward, PhD—biology of reproduction
W. S. Ward, PhD—tertiary structure of DNA, nuclear structure, and genetic instability
R. Yanagimachi, MD, DSci—mammalian germ cells, assisted reproduction, cloning and transgenesis

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

The Academic Program

The Cell and Molecular Biology Program (CMB) in biomedical sciences represents an interdisciplinary approach to graduate education with faculty in many sub-disciplines of biology dedicated to helping qualified students pursue original research using modern approaches to cell and molecular biology. The CMB program brings together faculty from three colleges and various research institutes. Planning for collaborative research is emphasized in this program, as well as solid training in a variety of laboratory techniques.

The CMB program provides fellowships for PhD students in their first year, and additional support in the way of research or teaching assistantships are available for qualified applicants in subsequent years. The program is intended to prepare students for careers in academia, research institutes, and in expanding areas of biotechnology in the private sector.

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.


For complete details regarding the program, contact Lyn Hamamura at msbiosci@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 curriculum core of the CMB program is a specialized lecture class, spanning two semesters (CMB 621-622). Additional required courses are CMB 611 Seminar in Biomedical Science and CMB 626 Ethics in Biomedical Research. The remaining credit requirements can be fulfilled by specialized courses, seminars, and research units as recommended by the particular committee and research advisor 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 611 Seminar in Biomedical Science, CMB 626 Ethics in Biomedical Research and three laboratory rotations. The student is expected to form a committee, propose, complete, and defend an original research project and publish at least one paper in a peer-reviewed journal during their graduate career.

Selected Specialized Courses

Cell Biology

  • MBBE 620 Plant Biochemistry
  • TPSS 614 Molecular Genetics of Crops
  • TRMD 604 Infectious Disease Micro I
  • TRMD 671 Advanced Medical Parasitology
  • TRMD 690 Seminar in Tropical Medicine and Public Health
  • ZOOL 610 Topics in Development and Reproductive Biology

Molecular Biology

  • CMB 625 Advanced Topics in Genetics
  • CMB 654 Genetics Seminars
  • MICR 625 Advanced Immunology
  • MICR 671 Bacterial Genetics
  • MBBE 680 Methods in Plant Molecular Biology
  • MBBE 691 Advanced Special Topics in MBBE


  • CMB 606 Introduction to Neurosciences
  • CMB 705 Special Topics in Neuroscience
  • PHYL 606 Human Neurophysiology
  • ZOOL 712 Topics in Nerve/Muscle Physiology

Interdisciplinary Studies

Degree Offered: BA in interdisciplinary studies

See the “Colleges of Arts and Sciences” section for more information.

IS Courses