Physiology and Cellular Biophysics

Program Category: PhD Programs

Director of Graduate Studies: Jane Dodd and Filippo Mancia


Degree Programs: Full-Time: MA, MPhil, PhD

Please note: This program is located on the Health Sciences campus in the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The degree for this program is conferred by GSAS, but program specifics, such as admissions, degree requirements, and financial aid, are administered by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The objective of our graduate program is to provide a stimulating and supportive environment which enables graduate students to acquire fundamental training in cellular and molecular biology and biophysics while participating in the rich intellectual life of Columbia University. The centerpiece of our program is the close interaction between graduate students and faculty which occurs in graduate courses, laboratory rotations, and thesis research. We make special efforts to tailor each student's educational program to his or her professional and personal goals enabling them to pursue careers as independent research scientists and educators.

The department welcomes applications from highly motivated students who have completed a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. Admission to the program is based on academic record, recommendations, GRE scores, and a personal interview. Applicants must submit GRE scores including the advanced test in either biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics. Prerequisites include differential and integral calculus, biostatistics, physics, general and organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biology or biochemistry. Students may make up specific deficiencies after admission. There is no language requirement. Computer literacy is recommended. Financial support is available for all qualified students.

The research interests of the faculty encompass many of the major themes of modern cell physiology and neurobiology. The PhD program provides advanced training in biochemistry, biophysics, and cell and molecular biology in addition to thesis research. Specific processes under study include analysis of the principles that determine how neural networks develop and mediate behavior, how neural interactions are changed when learning occurs, neural control of endocrine secretion, structure and developmental biology of the spinal cord, the physical basis for ion selectivity in channels of excitable membranes, neuromuscular transmission, development of the kidney, epithelial transport of salt and water, structure of biological membranes, biophysical properties of blood cells, mechanisms of phagocytosis, structure and function of surface receptors of leukocytes and endothelial cells, transport of water across cellular membranes, structure and function of mammalian glucose transporters, and cellular immunology. Diseases under study include AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, hypertension, Legionnaires disease, septic shock, and tuberculosis.

Fellowships are awarded in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Teaching and research experience are considered an important aspect of the training of graduate students. Thus, graduate fellowships include some teaching and research apprenticeship. 

Apply to:

Office of Graduate Affairs
Room 205, Hammer Health Sciences Center
701 W. 168th St.
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 305-8058
Fax: (212) 305-1031

Degree Programs: Full Time