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Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

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Neurosciences Graduate Specialization

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Interdisciplinary Programs

Aging and Gerontology

Degrees and Certificates Offered: BA in interdisciplinary studies (emphasis on aging), see the "Undergraduate Education" section of the Catalog for more information.

Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

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/CMB/Home.html

Graduate Faculty

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


A. Bachmann, PhD—pharmacology
D. M. Jameson, PhD—energetics and dynamics of protein interactions; fluorescence spectroscopy
H. L. Ng, PhD—structure based drug design and membrane protein crystallography
S. E. Seifried, PhD—molecular recognition and transcriptional control
A. Yanagihara, PhD—biochemistry of neurotoxins, neuroactive compounds in cnadarians

Cancer Biology

T. Donlon, PhD—molecular diagnostics of cancer
P. Fei, PhD—tumor suppressors function and cancer susceptibility syndromes
A. F. Lau, PhD—oncogenes, cellular transformation and signal transduction
L. Le Marchand, MD, PhD—cancer epidemiology, breast cancer risk
J. Ramos, PhD—MAP kinase pathway
J. Turkson, PhD—developing anticancer drugs
C-W. Vogel, MD, PhD—biochemistry of cellular toxins, neuroblastoma
R. K. Wada, MD—molecular oncology, oncogene regulation, tumor differentiation
D. C. Ward, PhD—cancer, cancer research administration


W. Boisvert, PhD—immunologic and inflammatory aspects of cardiovascular medicine
R. Matsui, PhD—cardiovascular disease
M. Matter, PhD—cardiovascular research
R. Shohet, MD—cardiovascular research
M. Tallquist, PhD—formation and function of vasculature
L. White, PhD—gene therapy, cardiac hypoxic response

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
V. Fogelgren, PhD—renal physiology, development and disease
S. Lozanoff, PhD—developmental biology and craniofacial development

Genetics and Molecular Biology

F. Bellinger, PhD—neurobiology of selenoproteins
M. J. Berry, PhD—selenoprotein synthesis
B. Bowen, PhD—conservation genetics
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
O. Le Saux, PhD—genetic disorders, elastin, PXE, gene mapping
J. Panee, PhD—selenoproteins and natural products as antioxidants
S. Robinow, PhD—neurogenetics
B. T. Shiramizu, MD—pediatric cancer, immunology, neurovirology
A. J. Stokes, PhD—cardiac immunology and cell and molecular biology
Z. Stoytcheva, PhD—molecular biology of selenoproteins
D. Ward, PhD—molecular cytogenetics, proteomics


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
M. Tuthill, PhD—monoclonal antibodies and immunology
R. Yanagihara, MD—viral pathogens, molecular phylogeny, emerging infections

Matrix Pathobiology

K. Csiszar, PhD—lysyl oxidase tumor suppressor family


D. C. Blanchard, PhD—psychopharmacology and neurobiology of behavior
D. K. Hartline, PhD—small network neurophysiology
R. Nichols, PhD—neurobiology
L. K. Takahashi, PhD—behavioral neuroscience
C. Todorovic, PhD—neurobiology of learning and memory

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

Y. Marikawa, PhD—molecular control of the body plan of vertebrate embryos
S. Moisyadi, PhD—mammalian transgenesis
M. Ward, PhD—biology of reproduction
W. S. Ward, PhD—tertiary structure of DNA, nuclear structure, and genetic instability
Y. Yamasaki, PhD—fetal germ cells

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

The Academic Program

The Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate 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 graduate 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 graduate 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 cell biology 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/CMB/Home.html.

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, 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.

Neuroscience Specialization

The Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program participates in the interdisciplinary "Area of Concentration in Neuroscience." This is a graduate "specialization" rather than a free-standing graduate program. CMB students interested in this specialization will take normal requirements for CMB plus additional coursework as determined by the Neuroscience Specialization. They will be eligible for graduate degrees in Cell and Molecular Biology (Neuroscience), presuming that their dissertation research includes an emphasis on application of Cell and Molecular Biological techniques to a Neuroscience research issue (or vice versa).

Selected Specialized Courses

Cell Biology

  • MBBE 620 Plant Biochemistry
  • TPSS 614 Molecular Genetics of Crops
  • TRMD 604 Concepts in Immunology and Immunopathogenesis
  • 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