MOLECULAR MECHANISMS: Molecular events are at the origin of all biological phenomena. The electrical signals originating from ions crossing biological membranes through specific ion channels ultimately determine speech, sensation and thought. Specific and tightly controlled proteolytic events determine the course of processes as diverse as egg fertilization, immune response, or blood clotting. Intermolecular interactions and modifications are present at all levels of signal transmission and transduction, determining the fate of molecules, cells, and organs. The study of molecular mechanisms involves understanding the structure of the intervening macromolecules, the nature and extent of their conformational changes, the type and strength of molecular interactions formed and broken and the dynamics of these changes. The research groups participating in the MCbiology PhD program are interested in molecular mechanisms at many different levels and resort to a large array of biophysical and biochemical techniques to thoroughly characterize and understand them.

CELL BIOLOGY: Modern Cell Biology combines aspects of different disciplines such as morphology, molecular biology and biochemistry to gain valuable mechanistic insight into the structure and function of the cell. Such knowledge is critical to understand tissues, organs and organisms. The MCbiology PhD program is committed to quality in teaching at the graduate level to foster a new generation of outstanding cell biologists. The research groups involved produce high quality research in modern cell biology including the areas of cell division, infection or neuron growth.

FUNCTIONAL GENETICS: Functional genetics is devoted at unraveling the function of DNA at the level of genes, RNA transcripts and protein products so as to understand the relationship between genome and functional properties, or phenotype, of a given organism. A major focus of functional genetics is the development of treatments for many diseases, namely human genetic diseases.

BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS AND TISSUE: The study of complex systems such as the immune or the nervous systems, a tissue or an organ, or even a bacterial population in a biofilm requires understanding the integration of processes occurring at the many interconnected layers of the biological organization: regulation of gene expression, alteration in protein levels, changes in cell metabolism, which in turn define cell-to-cell functions. Integration of these different tiers of biological information to understand physiological phenomena in health and disease is a main focus of the MCbiology PhD program.

SCIENCE ETHICS & COMMUNICATION: Ethics and communication are increasingly important for the life science researcher. Responsible research and innovation means that there is interaction between science and society throughout the research process and that ethical issues are taken into consideration within the research itself. Several research groups study ethics and communication issues in an integrated and interdisciplinary manner.



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