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  About our Ph.D. program
  • Where do MCB students come from?
  • What do MCB students accomplish during their graduate training?
  • Where do MCB students go for postdoctoral training or after degree completion?

Most of MCB’s approximately 100 faculty are in life sciences departments on the UMass Amherst campus. Others are in life sciences departments on the nearby campuses of Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and Amherst College. MCB faculty have close relationships with faculty/M.D.s at the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., through the UMass/Baystate Collaborative Biomedical Research Program.
Currently, 75 students are working toward doctoral degrees and 18 students are pursuing master’s degrees in the MCB program. The strengths of the program are the breadth of its faculty’s research interests, the interdisciplinary nature of its training, and the close mentoring and individual attention MCB students receive. Barbara Osborne, Professor of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, is the program's Director; Dominique Alfandari, Associate Professor of Developmental Biology, is the program's Associate Director.

How to Apply:

Graduate School information for all applicants (U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and non-citizens) may be found on the Graduate School website. Please use the secure on-line application to apply for the MCB Program. Please be certain to save the user name and password you create to log on.

December 1 is the deadline for the receipt of application materials for acceptance into the Ph.D. program beginning the following fall:

  • Application with Personal Statement
  • Application Fee
  • All Transcripts
  • Minimum of Two Letters of Recommendation
  • GRE Scores for General Exam
  • TOEFL and Financial Statement (for international applicants only)

Applicants must take the GRE General Test prior to the December 1 application deadline for us to receive the scores in time to consider your application for the following fall semester. Scores received after the December 1 deadline will be considered only if your application has been paid for and received by December 1. A Subject Test in biology, biochemistry, chemistry or physics, while NOT REQUIRED, will be helpful in the review of your file.

A file will generally not be reviewed until all application materials have been received.

A bachelor's degree from a qualified college or university is required or expected prior to the program’s start date. Applicants are expected to have taken college-level courses in Biology, Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Calculus, and Physics.

Financial Support:

All accepted Ph.D. candidates are fully supported for the duration of their study. Students are eligible for teaching and research assistantships that include tuition, curriculum fee, health insurance, dental coverage, and an annual stipend (Current annual stipend of $23,670.40). Once a dissertation lab is selected, students are supported by research assistantships or fellowships. All students are required to serve as teaching assistants, generally during their first year.


Where do MCB students come from?

The MCB graduate program recruits students from various universities in the United States and abroad. Students entering the program within the past three years received their undergraduate degrees from institutions in the following U.S. states:
California—University of Southern California, California Polytechnic State University
Pennsylvania—Pennsylvannia State University, Dickinson College, Marywood University
Minnesota—Hamline University
Washington—University of Washington
New York—State University of New York at Albany
New Hampshire—University of New Hampshire
Vermont—Saint Michael’s College, University of Vermont
Massachusetts—UMass Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, Clark University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology And from the following foreign institutions:

  • McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • University of Kashmir, India
  • Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • National Taiwan University, Taiwan
  • Korea University, South Korea
  • Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina
  • Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

What do MCB students accomplish during their graduate training?

The following is a selected list of student publications dated 2006-2012, of which majority are first author publications.

  • Friedrich, T., Lambert, A.M., Masino, M.A., and Downes, G.B. (2012) Mutation of zebrafish dihydrolipoyl transacylase results in abnormal motor behavior and models maple syrup urine disease. Disease Models and Mechanisms 5: 248-58.
  • McKeown, K.A., Moreno, R., Hall, V.L., Ribera, A.B., and Downes, G.B. (2012). Zebrafish technotrouser mutants demonstrate abnormal locomotive behavior development due to mutation of a glutamate transporter. Developmental Biology 362: 162-71
  • Johnson B.B., Moe P.C., Wang Y.D., Rossi K., Trigatti B.L., and Heuck A.P.
    Modifications in Perfringolysin O domain 4 alter the threshold of cholesterol concentration required for binding Biochemistry 2012, 51 (16), pp 3373-3382
  • Giorda, K. M., S. Raghava and D. N. Hebert (2012) The SV40 late viral protein VP4 disrupts the nuclear envelope for viral release. Journal of Virology,86(6):3180-92.
  • "Direct Tests of the Energetic Basis of Abortive Cycling in Transcription," Ankit V. Vahia & Craig T. Martin, Biochemistry 50, 7015-7022, 2011.
  • Romano F. B.,; Rossi, K.; Sava, C.G.; Holzenburg, A.; Clerico, E.M.; Heuck A. P.
    Efficient isolation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III secretion translocators and assembly of heteromeric transmembrane pores in model membranes Biochemistry 2011, 50 (33), pp 7117–7131
  • Tao L, Roberts AL, Dunphy KA, Bigelow C, Yan H, Jerry DJ. Repression of mammary stem/progenitor cells by p53 is mediated by notch and separable from apoptotic activity. Stem Cells. 2011;29:119-127.
  • Jerry DJ, Griner NB, Tao L. Tumor suppressor pathways and cellular origins of breast cancer: new complexities and new hopes. NanoLife. 2010;1:1-16.
  • Viana AB, Li M, Schnell DJ. 2010. Determinants for stop-transfer and post-import pathways for protein targeting to the chloroplast inner envelope membrane. J Biol Chem. 285:12948-60.
  • Clark, NE, Garman, SC. The 1.9 A structure of human alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase: The structural basis of Schindler and Kanzaki diseases. Journal of Molecular Biology. 2009, Oct 23;393(2):435-447.
  • "Dissociation of halted T7 RNA polymerase elongation complexes proceeds via a forward translocation mechanism," Yi Zhou, Deanna M. Navaroli, Metewo Selase Enuameh, & Craig T. Martin, Proc. Natl. Acad.Sci., U.S.A. 104, 10352-10357, 2007
  • "Observed instability of T7 RNA polymerase elongation complexes can be dominated by collision-induced "bumping", Yi Zhou and Craig T. Martin, J. Biol. Chem. 281, 24441-24448, 2006.
  • Li M, and Schnell DJ. Reconstitution of protein targeting to the inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts. J Cell Biol. 2006 Oct 23;175(2):249-59. **Article Highlighted on the Cover

  • David Sharlin, Ruby Bansal, R. Thomas Zoeller.  Polychlorinated Biphenyls Exert Selective Effects on Cellular Composition of White Matter in a Manner Inconsistent with Thyroid Hormone Insufficiency. Endocrinology, February 2006.  Volume 147 (2): 846-858.

  • C. Marcelino, R. G. Smock, and L. M. Gierasch, Evolutionary Coupling of Structural and Functional Sequence Information in the Intracellular Lipid-Binding Protein Family, Proteins: Structure Function Bioinformatics, 63, 373-384 (2006).


  • Hsu YC, Willoughby JJ, Christensen AK, and Jensen AM. 2006. Mosaic eyes is a novel component of the crumbs complex and negatively regulates photoreceptor apical size. Development 133(24):4849-59.
  • You SH, Gauger KJ, Bansal R, Zoeller RT. 4-Hydroxy-PCB106 acts as a direct thyroid hormone receptor agonist in rat GH3 cells. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2006 Sep 26; 257-258:26-34.


  • Tulu, U.S., Fagerstrom, C., Ferenz, N.P. and Wadsworth, P.  2006.  Molecular requirements for kinetochore-associated microtubule formatin in mammalian cells.  Current Biology. 16:536-541.

  • Brennan KM, Vella KR, Good DJ. 2006. Genetic analysis of NHLH2 and its putative role in bovine body weight control. Anim Genet. Aug;37 Suppl 1:24-27

  • Daniels, R., Rusan, N.M., Wilbuer, A.K., Norkin, L.C., Wadsworth, P., Hebert, D.N. (2006). “Simian virus 40 late proteins possess lytic properties that render them capable of permeabilizing cellular membranes.” Journal of Virology, 80(13):6575-87. ** Data from this paper was chosen for the Journal of Virology Cover (2006). Volume 80, Issue 23.**

  • Daniels, R., Rusan, N.M., Wadsworth, P., Hebert, D.N. (2006). “SV40 minor structural proteins VP2 and VP3 perform major roles in cell binding and penetration.” Molecular Cell, 24:955-66



Where do MCB students go for postdoctoral training or after degree completion?

Our graduates have gone on to postdoctoral research positions at academic research institutions or in the biotechnology industry in the U.S. and abroad. Some of our graduates have taken positions at the following institutions (see Our Graduates page for specific information):

  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • University of North Carolina
  • Duke University
  • Dana-Faber Cancer Institute
  • Harvard
  • MIT
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Stanford
  • Yale
  • Burroughs-Wellcome
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Eli Lilly
 
 
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