Founded in 1968 by the pioneering cell biologist and electron microscopist, Keith Porter, MCDB was among the first departments to integrate molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.  For nearly 50 years, MCDB researchers have made seminal contributions to our understanding of the structures of cells and organisms and the molecular underpinnings of life processes. A few of these early discoveries include: translational regulation of gene expression; bacterial motility by rotating flagella; fine structure of plant cell walls, tight junctions, chloroplasts, and mitotic spindles; temperature-sensitive and maternal effect mutations in C. elegans, and catalytic RNA. 

Today, MCDB faculty and students continue this pursuit to understand life at its most fundamental levels. But we are also addressing many of the pressing biomedical problems facing society, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, blindness, neurological and muscle disorders, infectious disease and antibiotic resistance, and environmental destruction.  Beyond making discoveries, MCDB continues its long tradition of excellence in cultivating and educating the next generations of research leaders, biomedical innovators, educators, and scientifically literate citizens.