Division of Cell and Molecular Biology


Life is based on cells. The study of cell biology focuses on how cells and the components, structures and organelles inside of cells all work to bring about cellular functions. Cell biology is fundamental for understanding the basic properties of life and touches on almost all aspects of biomedical research. In addition, cell biology is a critical component of appreciating the problems and treatments of specific diseases such as cancer and neuronal disorders.

Columbia is an internationally-recognized leading center for cell biology, where top researchers are actively investigating a multitude of basic questions, such as how do cell crawl, divide, communicate and die. Researchers at Columbia use a combination of approaches, including state of the art microscopy, in vivo and in vitro systems, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, computational biology, biophysics, genomics and proteomics, and structural biology. Subjects range from model organisms such as yeast, to cultured mammalian cells, to genetically-altered mice and tissues from pathology samples. Particular strengths at Columbia include: the cytoskeleton, cell motility, cell division, motor proteins, membrane trafficking, organelle and nuclear biology, as well as the cell biology of neuronal, muscle and cancer cells. Another strength of the Cell Biology community at Columbia is the enthusiastic cross-talk between labs and a collaborative environment, which contribute to an productive, innovative (and fun) research experience.

The Cell Biology Program is an interdepartmental Ph.D. program that offers students outstanding training in cell biology carried out at the highest levels. Components of this training include:

  • Courses. The core curriculum for the Programs in Basic Cell and Molecular Biology will provide a basic overview of biomedical research. Additional elective courses such as microscopy will be tailored to a student’s evolving interests and needs.

  • Rotations. During the first year, students will do rotations in three laboratories. These rotations are not restricted to those in the cell biology program, allowing the student to explore the full range of interests and approaches at Columbia.

  • Thesis research. After the rotations, students join a laboratory for their doctoral research. Students are advised by their thesis advisor and a thesis committee consisting of three other faculty members.

  • Research presentations. Students will have ample opportunity to present their work at meetings and also in local seminar series. For instance, many labs in the Cell Biology program participate in a highly active Cell Biology Research Group, in which students present their research in a weekly meeting.

  • Journal Clubs. Students in the cell biology track will have the opportunity to participate in a cell biology-oriented student journal club.

For further information about graduate studies in Cell Biology go to The Integrated Graduate Program and Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine Program, contact Ms. Zaia Sivo at 212-305-8393 or individual faculty members.




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
    e-Mail: Path-CMBS@columbia.edu

    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 PathWebMaster@columbia.edu