Graduate Doctoral Programs

Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine Program

New HHMI Grant Opens A New Initiative

Students in the graduate program in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine are eligible to apply to the Med in to Grad Initiative, a new program funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Students will be selected from the first-year students in the Graduate Programs in Health and Disease, including the Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine program. Starting in their second year these students will follow a curriculum focused on the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The program will provide students with a deeper understanding of disease-related concepts and to see new opportunities to improve clinical treatments and diagnostics.

Applications and Information: There are a number of Ph.D. programs at the Columbia University Medical Center. The Graduate Program in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine focuses on the Mechanisms of Human Disease and is housed in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.  The Graduate Programs at Columbia University Medical Center are all part of the Coordinated Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences. Additional information and a link to the on-line applications can be found at:  The GSAS site provides a great deal of information about life in New York and the many attractive programs, scientific and social, organized by the Coordinated Doctoral Program.  For more information about the requirements for the Graduate Program in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine please go to the following site:

Introduction: The power of science to improve the human condition has been clear since the days of Pasteur, Koch, Ramon y Cajal and other pioneers of modern biology and medicine. Almost all of the greatest advances in medicine derive from basic research and the Program in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine provides opportunities for basic research. Yet, enough has been learned about the basic biology of diseases that it is also fulfilling to acquaint graduate students with some of the great clinical problems that, with new developments, may no longer be so daunting. Aided by recognition and support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and by awards from the NIH and other agencies, our program aims at a new approach to converting basic research into clinically relevant results. We aim at a new working order of Ph.D and MD scientists.

Headquartered in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, the Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine program cooperates with other graduate programs to form a unit called Molecular Basis of Health and Disease. The program is organized to give PhD students a background in graduate level biology and has created a new course that examines the basic science, the clinical aspects, and even the social implications of a limited number of diseases. We consider these diseases in detail. This year they are sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, atherosclerosis and Alzheimer disease.

       new graduate students

The Department is pleased to welcome (belatedly) the 2016 class of Pathobiology graduate students. They include, from left to right: Sanjid Shahriar, Katherine Croce, Vladislav Korobeynikov, Patrick Dummer, and Manuel Tamargo.

The Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine Program takes pride in the scientific education of its graduate students. It creates courses and seminars to keep students abreast of the latest issues. The program trains students in basic skills such as writing and speaking that are important to a scientific career. Our students take advantage of the resources of Columbia University and of New York City. As a result, our graduates have gone on to important positions in academia and industry.

Led by a large faculty who are at the forefront of their profession, our students pursue thesis research in:

  • Cancer biology
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Cellular and molecular neurobiology
  • Cell motility, cytoskeleton and intracellular trafficking
  • Disease of the eye
  • Neuronal stem cells
Many of our faculty members are organized into larger groupings of researchers. Prospective students will find it helpful to examine the websites of important components of our research and teaching program. Many lab websites contain the names of the graduate students working in our various laboratories. Prospective students should feel free to contact them about their experiences at Columbia.






Neurons (green) and astrocytes (red) derived from a single stem cell in the adult mammalian brain. Professor Fiona Doetsch

Students in our program have access to cancer research in the Institute of Cancer Genetics, which does research in lymphoma, breast, prostate and bladder cancer and in important potential therapies such as the control of angiogenesis. Another strong component of the Program is the study of neurodegeneration. Many faculty members in this program are associated with the Taub Institute on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain, the Parkinson’s Disease Center and the Motor Neuron Center. Faculty members in these areas are interested in understanding the mechanisms that lead to these diseases and in potential therapeutics. There is particular interest in disease of the eye. Other participating faculty have interests in the development of the nervous system, including neuronal stem cells and neuronal development. The Program is also home to cell biologists interested in microtubule dynamics, cell motility, cell cycle regulation, organelle movement and intracellular protein sorting and the roles of these processes in disease.

Please consult the following websites and the faculty listed within them:


Administration Contacts

  • Ms. Zaia Sivo
    Department of Pathology
    & Cell Biology

    630 W. 168th Street
    New York, NY 10032

    Tel: 212 305-8393
    Fax: 212 342-5498

  • Office of Graduate Affairs
    HHSC Room 205
    701 W. 168th Street
    New York, NY 10032

    Tel: 212 305-8058
    Fax: 212 305-1031
Contact the Pathology Webmaster at