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Virginia Tech’s molecular and cellular biology program welcomes first cohort

The inaugural class of the molecular and cellular biology program (center rows) meeting with Dean DePauw (left) and co-directors Silke Hauf (back row, left) and Michelle Olsen (back row, second from the left).

Virginia Tech has launched its interdisciplinary doctoral program in molecular and cellular biology with an inaugural class of seven impressive students from diverse backgrounds with extensive research experience. Incoming students may choose research projects from four broad categories: Cell Signaling and Cancer, Inflammation and Immunity, Microbiology, and Neurobiology

Silke Hauf and Michelle Olsen, co-directors of the molecular and cellular biology program, or MCB, have designed a program that offers students a broad foundation along with a strong research component.

“The MCB program is a ‘grassroots’ effort. We have brought together this critical mass of molecular and cellular biologists from diverse research areas who are invested in training and supporting our students,” said Olsen, an associate professor in The School of Neuroscience.

The Fralin Life Science Institute provided seed funding to get the program off the ground and continues to provide support. All the contributing departments and the College of Science have invested money to support the program as well.

“As director of the School of Neuroscience, I am delighted with the successful launch of the MCB program, which brings together scientists from a variety of disciplines including Neuroscience. MCB exemplifies the cross-disciplinary team spirit that makes transformational science possible," said Harald Sontheimer, the I.D. Wilson Chair and Professor and executive director of the Virginia Tech School of Neurosciences. "The quality of the inaugural class of students is outstanding, and I am hosting two students for rotations to study the role of the extracellular matrix in regulating neuronal activity."

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