Gene Expression, Cell Cycle & Chromosome Biology

The duplication, organization, maintenance and interpretation of the DNA code is one of the most fundamental processes in life. Seattle MCB faculty take various approaches to investigate how cells maintain proper cell cycle progression, chromosomal organization, DNA replication, transcription, DNA repair and chromosome segregation.

Area Directors

Area Directors help advise students about classes and rotations in their interest area. They also provide a listing of suggested courses for those interested in Gene Expression, Cell Cycle & Chromosome Biology.

Faculty Area Directors

Student Area Directors

Suggested Curriculum

The suggested curriculum outlined below is meant to guide you in choosing classes, they are not requirements. We highly encourage you to take the Foundational courses, while the Electives are more specialized and often cross between Areas of Interest. Remember to review the UW Time Schedule for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding whether a course is currently being offered.

2022-2023 Suggested Curriculum (document download)

CONJ 532 – Signal Transduction from The Cell Membrane to The Nucleus

Intracellular signaling pathways leading from cell membrane receptors to nucleus. Pathways activated by seven transmembrane receptors and G-proteins, insulin/PI3 kinase, MAPKs, and WNTs and mechanisms of signal termination. Cytokine/Jak/Stat signaling and role of subcellular localization in signal transduction.
Offered AUT, 2.0 credits, Weeks 6-10

CONJ 537 – Mechanisms of transcriptional regulation

A five-week graduate survey course concentrating on biochemical mechanisms of gene transcription. The course will cover a broad range of transcriptional regulation including: Mechanisms of transcriptional initiation; Regulation of transcription by chromatin; Transcriptional regulation, development and diseases in mammals.
Offered AUT, 1.5 credits, Weeks 6-10, Offered even-numbered years, Last offered in AUT 2022

GENOME 551 – Principles of Gene Regulation

Course covers fundamentals of gene regulation in eukaryotes including principles of cis and trans regulation of gene expression; DNA and RNA binding proteins; role of chromatin structure in gene expression; epigenetic regulatory mechanisms; RNA-based regulatory mechanisms; and post-transcriptional regulation. The course centers on reading and discussion of landmark primary literature in the aforementioned areas.
Note: May be redundant with CONJ 537 and therefore may be an excellent substitute for students that are unable to take CONJ 537 due to scheduling conflicts.
Offered WIN, 1.5 credits, Weeks 6-10, Will be offered in WIN 2023

CONJ 524 – Structural Basis of Signal Transduction

There are three learning objectives. (1) By the end of the course, students are expected to know the common structural features and signaling/regulatory principles of most important signaling protein families, including kinases, phosphatases, ubiquitin ligases, G-proteins and GPCRs. (2) Through structural analysis, students are expects to learn ways to design approaches to specifically manipulate or control these molecular mechanisms. (3) Through homework and discussion, students are required to be able to download PDB files, analyze the molecular structure (using programs such as Pymol), and obtain desired structure-function relationship information.
Offered WIN, 1.5 credits, Weeks 6-10, Course is not currently being offered

CONJ 531 – Signaling Mechanism in Excitable Cells

Mechanisms of cellular signaling, particularly in nerve and muscle. Electrical, chemical, and mechanical signaling in the cell that lead to processes such as electrical excitability, action potentials, and muscle contraction. Prerequisite: comprehensive undergraduate course in general biochemistry and molecular biology, or permission of instructor.
Note: This course is more geared towards students interested in neuroscience, but nonetheless is a great complement to the commonly studied signaling pathways that are discussed in other courses (such as CONJ 532).
Offered AUT, 1.5 credits, Weeks 1-5

MCB 539 – Biological Basis of Neoplasia

Introduces the major themes in research in the biology of neoplastic change. Covers principle molecular mechanisms responsible for tumor initiation and progression, with a specific emphasis on intracellular signaling, DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoints, and loss of normal tissue homeostasis. The latest state of the art research in Cancer Biology will be presented by invited scientists, experts in their relevant field. The discussion meetings will concentrate on selected major papers in cancer biology and be presented and discussed by the students with help and guidance of the instructors.
Offered SPR, 3.0 credits, Weeks 1-10, Will be offered in SPR 2024


Chromosomal Collaboration

The Seattle Mitosis Group is a collective of six labs interested in exploring fundamental questions about mitosis, including its structure, regulation and mechanics.

The MCB Program has a strong focus on understanding various aspects of chromosome biology. We feature research from the structure and function of chromatin to the dynamics of chromosome movement during cell division.  The faculty are interactive and collaborative, as demonstrated by a number of groups that meet regularly to investigate topics relevant to chromosomes. Check out the Seattle Mitosis Club.