Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology

Elliott Crooke, Ph.D, Chair

In 2005 the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Cell Biology were combined to form a new interdisciplinary department in the Medical Center.

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program acquaints the medical student with an understanding of basic biochemistry, molecular biology, and concepts as they relate to mammalian metabolism in health and disease. Advanced elective courses offered by the department are available to qualified students throughout the four years of training.

The department plays an active role in basic science activities of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Its curriculum includes an extensive doctoral program and a biotechnology program for MS and Certificate candidates. The department participates in the MD/PhD program and offers elective courses and summer research training to qualified medical students.

Department members are actively engaged in research programs dealing with a variety of biochemical problems, with major research interests including biophysical studies, enzyme mechanisms, signal transduction, mechanisms of hormone action, membranes, molecular biology, endocrinology, and aspects of microbial and mammalian growth, including control mechanisms and molecular parasitology.

The Cell Biology program seeks to initiate students in health science careers by offering them the opportunity to observe, understand, and become creatively aware of the structure of the human body as an integrated biological system. Students are encouraged to use their knowledge of Anatomy and Cell Biology as a foundation on which an integrated framework of information and concepts from other basic and clinical sciences can be built.

The Cell Biology Department’s core teaching program consists of three basic courses in which the subject matter is purposefully coordinated and integrated, with electives offered to first and second-year students. Faculty members encourage students and house staff to use departmental resources for advanced study during their subsequent training.

Modern facilities designed for small group teaching create a suitable environment in which students may pursue their scholarly interests. The close student-faculty contact created by this setting is a great asset. Audiovisual materials are routinely used in the classroom and laboratories and are available in the library to enable students to study at their own pace.

Gross Anatomy is primarily a laboratory course incorporating a strong clinical correlation with major emphasis on the dissection and study of the adult human body. Lectures and informal laboratory conferences are supplemented by the use of models, X-ray presentations, and films. Students are encouraged to work independently.

Microscopic Anatomy covers cell biology, tissue biology, and organs/systems histology, with the structure and function of cells, tissues, and organs reviewed at the light and electron microscope level. Guest lecturers provide clinical relevance to basic materials, and small group laboratory sessions supplement lectures and encourage direct student/faculty interaction.

Human Developmental Biology is presented in a separate series of lectures correlated with instruction in Cell Biology, Histology, and Gross Anatomy. Chronological development of organs and important anomalies of the various body systems are stressed.