Education and Training

All PPBS faculty members have a primary appointment in one of 11 departments or programs, which are built around our research areas. The interdisciplinary nature of our research means that faculty share interests, expertise and techniques with faculty from other programs. These themes identify common areas of research and potential areas of collaboration.

These research areas form the foundation of our graduate program:

Research Areas

  • Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
    The study of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying behavior and cognition. This is a multimodal scientific discipline that uses animal and human techniques to study the neural substrates of behavior and cognition in health and disease.
  • Biochemistry, Cellular Biology and Molecular Biology
    This research area explores the foundation of biological processes and normal and abnormal states at the cellular and subcellular level using biochemical, molecular and genetic techniques.
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
    The common theme for this research area is the primary use of computational approaches, including computer science, information engineering, mathematics, and statistics, to analyze and interpret biological data and to understand important biological and biomedical systems.
  • Biomedical Engineering
    Researchers in this field use engineering problem-solving skills to develop new approaches and devices to improve human health. 
  • Biomedical Informatics
    This is the interdisciplinary field that studies and pursues the effective uses of biomedical data, information and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving and decision making, motivated by efforts to improve human health.
  • Biophysics
    Our biophysics researchers blend the skills of physics, chemistry, math, structural biology and engineering to address health issues in the biomedical sciences. It is based on the premise that quantitative techniques provide unique and fundamental insights that advance scientific discovery.
  • Cancer Biology
    The study of cancer biology includes the study of a variety of aspects of oncogenesis and cancer treatment, including the study of tumor formation, growth and metastasis, as well as the development of cancer therapeutics.
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
    This area of research studies the cellular processes of neurons and glia at a molecular level to seek an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms that underlie communication in the nervous system. This broad field employs a multidisciplinary approach to study nervous system development and function.
  • Computational Cell Biology, Anatomy and Pathology
    Our faculty members who specialize in computational cell biology, anatomy and pathology employ a wide variety of genetic, cellular, molecular and state of the art computational imaging techniques to examine biological structures of cells, tissues and organisms in human biomedicine.
  • Genomics
    This research area uses comprehensive and specialized studies that integrate genome-wide approaches and genetic models to answer important questions about development and human disease.
  • Immunology and Inflammation
    The study of immunology and inflammation involves the latest genetic, biochemical and imaging tools in conjunction with -omics approaches to investigate the function of the immune system, its regulation and the pathological consequences of dysregulation due to mutation, infectious or autoimmune disease, as well as aging.
  • Microbial Pathogenesis
    Experts in microbial pathogenesis use cutting-edge techniques in cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics to study how bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi are able to engage with their host and cause disease. Researchers in this field study ways to identify novel targets for life-saving therapies.
  • Neurobiology of Disease
    Researchers who study the neurobiology of disease focus on the neural systems, cells and molecules involved in neurological diseases including neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disease, as well as traumatic injury to the nervous system. This discipline seeks to understand the mechanisms of these diseases in order to develop new therapies. 
  • Pharmacology and Addiction
    This area of research includes the study of drug discovery, toxicology and endocrinology, and it also includes the interaction of drugs with targets, cells, tissues, as well as the metabolic and physiologic responses of the organism to these interactions. 
  • Physiology and Pathophysiology
    Researchers in these disciplines study how cells, tissues and organs of the body communicate and work together to maintain the body’s functional capacities in health and disease, using state-of-the-art computational, genomic, proteomic, cell biological and physiological techniques. These research areas provide fundamental insights that form the foundations of health care (translational research).
  • Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
    This area of research has the potential to revolutionize modern medicine by providing the building blocks for tissue regeneration. Successful translation of stem cell breakthroughs into cell therapies requires interdisciplinary approaches that draw from biology, medicine and bioengineering.
  • Structural Biology and Protein Science
    The study of structural biology and protein science aims to investigate biomedical processes and diseases from the perspective of biological macromolecules with a goal of understanding how protein sequence and structure relate to biological and biochemical function in important cellular processes.