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Education / Graduate Education / PhD Programs / Cell Biology of Disease

Cell Biology of Disease

Helene McMurray photo

Dr. Helene McMurray, Ph.D.
Program Director

The Cell Biology of Disease Graduate Program trains students in understanding and developing treatments for human disease.

Program Highlights

The program is multidisciplinary in nature, drawing on faculty expertise in all aspects of disease biology including:

  • Defining the molecular mechanisms underlying pathology, developing model systems, ‘omic’ sciences (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, and microbiomics)
  • Designing therapeutic interventions using regenerative biology, forward pharmacology, and rational drug design.   
  • Students are generally free to work with any faculty throughout the University of Rochester Medical Center whose research focuses on disease biology or basic cell biological mechanisms that are critical for pathogenesis.
  • Students who complete the Cell Biology of Disease Graduate Program receive a PhD in Pathology and go on to rewarding careers in academic, medical, industrial, non-profit and governmental settings.

Learn more about program strengths

By the Numbers


Total Students

70 +

Mentoring Faculty

30 +

Total Affiliated Depts/Centers

20 +

Student Publications since Jan. 2020

What Sets Us Apart

Program Highlights

Our Pathology Ph.D. students learn and use cutting edge biochemical and genetic research techniques while cross training in biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics.

Research and Mentorship

With over 80 Faculty, the Cell Biology of Disease Program and Ph.D. in Pathology offers a wide range of research opportunities for our student researchers.


The Cell Biology of Disease Program curriculum is designed to give students a strong core foundation in cellular and molecular biology and afford maximum flexibility.

What Our Students Say...

Why did you choose to do your PhD training at URMC?

"The breadth of the Cell Biology of Disease program at URMC allowed me to explore my varied scientific interests without limiting my options.  I was able to take generalized disease pathology and cell biology classes while exploring different disease models (including stroke, anemia, and heart disease) in more detail in my laboratory rotations to find what research best suited my interests.  

Additionally, I was able to quickly identify faculty that were leaders in their field and accessible to students, guaranteeing that I would have various options for networking and identifying mentors throughout my Ph.D. training."

Kimberly Burgos Vilar

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