Contact Information

Molecular and Cell Biology

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Program
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799

Gabriela Dveksler, Ph.D.

Chair, Recruitment and Admissions Committee
Phone: (301) 295-3332

Mary Lou Cutler, Ph.D.

Professor & Director
Phone: (301) 295-3453

Tina Finley

Department Administrator
Phone: 301-295-3642



The Molecular and Cell Biology Ph.D. Program requires applicants to satisfy all University requirements for admission. Each applicant must complete a baccalaureate degree from an accredited academic institution before matriculation at USU. Strong undergraduate training in an area of science is required. Undergraduate experience must be in an appropriate scientific discipline [e.g. biology, biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology]. Required courses include college level chemistry (including organic chemistry), physics and mathematics. Applicants must arrange for official transcripts of all prior college level courses they have taken, and their results on the Graduate Record Examination (taken within the previous two years) to be sent to the Office of Graduate Education. In addition, students may elect to submit in support of their application scores obtained on a Graduate Record Advanced Examination in one or more of the subject areas listed above. Applicants must also arrange for three letters of recommendation from persons who are familiar with their academic work to be sent to USUHS. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit their results on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), unless their undergraduate education has been at an accredited academic institution in the U.S.A. or at an equivalent academic institution in an English speaking country.

Students transferring into the Molecular and Cell Biology Program from other institutions may, with the approval of the USUHS Graduate Education Committee and the Molecular and Cell Biology Executive Committee, transfer academic credit to meet the Molecular and Cell Biology and Graduate Program requirements.

Student interviews are conducted by invitation of the MCB Recruitment and Admissions Committee. Most interviews are conducted during the Graduate Student Open House held during the first week of March. This affords invited students the opportunity to visit the University, tour the facilities, meet other applicants, and students in the MCB and other graduate programs. Interviews are scheduled with faculty whose interests are most likely to correspond to those of the applicants. Students request to meet with a specific member of the faculty are almost always accommodated. For those applicants unable to attend the Open House, individual interviews may be arranged for other times. In addition, in those cases where a personal interview cannot be arranged, telephone interviews can be conducted at the discretion of the Recruitment and Admissions Committee. All interviews with foreign applicants are conducted by telephone.

First year students are required to take the following courses:

  • Graduate Biochemistry
  • Fundamentals of Immunology
  • Fundamentals of Bacterial Physiology and Genetics
  • Computers in Biomedical Research
  • Techniques in Cellular and Molecular Cell Biology
  • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Journal Club
  • MCB Seminar
  • Introduction to Research

During their first summer students are required to complete at least two research rotations in laboratories of their choice. Upon completion of these rotations students may choose a thesis advisor (in whose laboratory and under whose guidance they will perform their dissertation research project and prepare the written thesis dissertation leading to the degree of doctor of philosophy), or elect to perform an additional rotation(s).

The second year of study is composed of a combination of laboratory research and elective courses. Electives include advanced, literature-based courses in:

  • Virology
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Signal transduction
  • Cancer Biology
  • Molecular and neuroendocrinology

Participation in the Journal Club and Seminar Series, featuring speakers chosen as leaders in their fields from throughout the country is required for all students throughout their entire time in the program.