A new building for MCDB!
An architect's drawing of the new Biological Sciences Building as viewed from North University Ave.
(Drawing by SmithGroupJJR and Ennead Architects )
Greetings from MCDB
It has been an exciting year in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.
     Perhaps the most exciting development is the approval by the University of Michigan Regents of a new Biological Sciences Building (BSB). MCDB faculty members worked hard over the past year planning the new building. It will house modern research and teaching facilities, and the popular Museum of Natural History. Groundbreaking is scheduled for winter 2015. The BSB will open in 2018, with the first classes held in the building that fall.
     A state-of-the-art biological imaging facility to be housed in the new BSB is a top priority for MCDB and the College of LS&A as part of the University's Victors capital campaign launched this time last year. This microscopy facility will enable MCDB faculty and students to conduct cutting edge research in neuroscience, cell, and developmental biology. Learn how you can contribute to this effort on our giving page.
     This fall we welcomed two new faculty members to MCDB, who are now busy setting up their laboratories and planning their teaching. A third new professor will arrive in January.
We are very proud of our undergraduate and graduate students, and our faculty who have won prestigious awards from the University and from international scientific organizations. We hope you enjoy reading more about MCDB on our website.
      I took over as MCDB Chair from Pamela Raymond in July. Learn a bit more about me and read about Pamela Raymond's impact on the department. We hope to partner with you as we grow and develop our internationally distinguished research and teaching programs.
—Robert Denver
Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

New MCDB Chair Robert Denver

Neuroendocrinologist Robert Denver is the new chair of MCDB. Most recently he has served the department as Associate Chair for Research and Facilities. His research focuses on the molecular biology of thyroid and steroid hormone action in the developing brain, and how hormones mediate environmental effects on animal development. He uses amphibian and mouse models for his research.
  He was co-founder and first president of the North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology, and he currently serves as president of the International Federation of Comparative Endocrine Societies.
       Denver joined the UM faculty in 1994 after a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. He earned his B.S. at Rutgers University in 1984 and the Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of California
at Berkeley.
The Raymond Legacy: Cohesive, Diverse Department; Shaping New Facilities
Pamela Raymond, Stephen S. Easter Collegiate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, who has served MCDB as chair since fall of 2008, has “passed the baton” to Robert Denver. At a surprise thank-you reception in July, Raymond was praised for her masterful management of administrative duties, her keen attention to detail, and “her ability to lead with both kindness and respect.”
    Raymond joined MCDB in 2005. When she became chair in 2008, she was the only female full professor among the faculty. Now as she steps down from her term as chair, she is pleased to have overseen the promotion of three women to the ranks of full professor, as well as the hiring of six women and four men as assistant professors.
      Denver says that Raymond was instrumental in establishing robust mentoring of the junior faculty, and fair and equitable faculty review and promotions practices.
Read More
Meet Our New Faculty
Kimberley Seed joined MCDB in September as an assistant professor. Her research explores the “co-evolutionary arms race” between bacteria and their viral predators—bacteriophages, and how these interactions impact human health and disease. She uses comparative genomics and molecular approaches  to identify and validate the strategies that the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of the disease cholera, uses to protect against phages and how the phages interfere with those strategies.  Read More
Monica Dus has arrived at MCDB from a postdoctoral appointment at the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine. Dus is exploring how the brain responds to changes in internal energy to regulate feeding. She has discovered a gene she named "cupcake" in Drosophila brain neurons. Flies with mutations in the cupcake gene ignore normal metabolic signals of starvation and continue to prefer sweet-tasting substances even though they don't have calories needed to sustain them. Normal flies switch their preferences to substances with more caloric value though the taste is less sweet. Read More
JK Nandakumar, who joined MCDB in September 2013, has published his first paper since joining the Department. Read More
Honors, Awards, Publications
2014 Christine Psujek Memorial Award for the best undergraduate honors thesis was earned by Ross Carson, who worked with Associate Professor Catherine Collins. Online: A complete list of the 85 undergraduate students who have earned honors over the last two years and their thesis titles. Honors Recipients
MCDB graduate students have garnered their share of awards, as well. Among other awards, three students earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Our faculty have noteworthy publications and awards. Read more in our 2014 News Compilation
Save the date!
Professor Eva Marder will present the 2015 Connell Memorial Lecture on April 29, 2015 at 4 p.m. in the Rackham Graduate School Amphitheater. Dr. Marder is Professor of Biology at Brandeis and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences. A neuroscientist, she has made seminal discoveries in how circuit function arises from the intrinsic properties of individual neurons and their synaptic connections. Her research group discovered that similar circuit outputs can be generated by different mechanisms, both within an animal during its lifetime, or in different individuals. The public is welcome at this event.
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Or mail your check to:  MCDB, Kraus Natural Science Building, 830 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1048 
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Copyright © 2014 University of Michigan Department of Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology, All rights reserved.

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