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The Department of Cell and Developmental Biology is a vibrant, interdisciplinary environment for cutting-edge research over a scale that spans seven powers of ten, from single molecules to whole organisms. The difference between a test tube and a cell is spatio-temporal organization, and we study molecular, cellular and tissue organization in many of the laboratories within our department, seeking insights into fundamental biological questions and human disease. This year we achieved the #3 ranking in the nation for funding, as compared with similar departments in research institutions and universities. We are an interactive and highly collaborative department, with a strong graduate student association, outstanding core facilities, a top-ranked developmental biology program, and exceptionally strong faculty. Recent faculty recruits are studying cell migration using super-resolution microscopy, single molecule analysis of microtubule dynamics, systems biology of intestinal epithelia, stem cell biology, and the regulation of plasma membrane composition and aging.

We train top tier postdoctoral fellows, medical students and graduate students to continue our mission into the future. Over 63 graduate students are currently working in CDB laboratories; 36% of whom have published a paper in the 2017/2018 academic year. 23 CDB Students were authors on 29 papers.


  • Shwetha Narasimhan was selected by Vector Laboratories as an awardee in their image contest follow link and see attachment
  • Andrea Page-McCaw, associate professor of cell and developmental biology in the School of Medicine has been recently elected Fellow of the AAAS.
  • CDB Takes the #3 Spot in Cell Biology Funding for 2017. Vanderbilt Department of Cell & Developmental Biology ranked third out of 76 among US medical schools in “Anatomy/Cell Biology” NIH funding, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research.

Upcoming Dissertation Defenses

  • Amrita Banerjee (Lau Lab), March 13, 12:10 pm, 3131 MRB III   Flyer
  • Christi Salisbury-Ruf (Zinkel Lab), March 22, 11:00am, 898J PRB  Flyer

Journal Covers

  • Matt Tyska, “Brush border protocadherin CDHR2 promotes the elongation and maximized packing of microvilli in vivo. Mol Biol Cell, Nov 7, 2018 Cover Art

New Grants Fund Discovery in CDB

  • Natalya Ortolano (PhD Candidate, Gama Lab) received an NIH/NINDS F31 Predoctoral Fellowship
  • Vivian Gama received an R21 grant: NCI’s “Provocative Questions” initiative; collaborators include Rebecca Ihrie and Jonathan Irish
  • Jonathan Irish received an R01
  • MPI: Bob Coffey, Ken Lau, Martha Shrubsole – U2C  Integrative single-cell atlas of host and microenvironment in colorectal neoplastic transformation
  • Veronica Farmer (Graduate Student Zanic Lab) was awarded an AHA grant.
  • New Vanderbilt SCRIPS fellowship for trainee Akshikumar Mistry (Ihrie Lab).
  • Vivian Gama received TIPS initiative funding for Precision Medicine & Mental Health, sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute.
  • Megan Rasmussen, (PhD Candidate Gama Lab)  AHA Predoctoral Fellowship
  • Merlyn Emmanuel, PhD, Weaver Lab received an AHA Post Doctoral Fellowship.
  • Alissa Guarnaccia (PhD Candidate Tansey Lab) received the Vanderbilt Prize award

Nikon Center of Excellence

Learn more about the Nikon Center of Excellence The NCoE offers training courses, including basic and advanced light microscopy techniques, quantitative image analysis, and workshops on Nikon software: Please Click Here to register.


2016 IM logo_300dpi.jpgVanderbilt University
Program in Developmental Biology

PDB – About the Program