2019 MCB Commencement Reception and Awards

May 14, 2019

The 2019 UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences undergraduate graduation took place at Gampel Pavilion on Sunday, May 12.

Following commencement, the Molecular and Cell Biology Department hosted the annual reception for graduating seniors in biology.

Awards were given out to students in the 4 areas of concentration. Dr. Michael Lynes, head of MCB handed out awards to Brian Aguilera and Jennifer Messina for Outstanding Senior in MCB. Kevin Lee and Tony Patelunas each received an award for Outstanding TA award.

See the photo album here


2021 MCB Grad Recruitment a Virtual Success!

February 18, 2021

MCB hosted over 30 grad recruits on Friday, February 5th. The first all-virtual recruitment event was a success and included virtual lab tours, grad student turbo talks, interviews, poster sessions, research seminars and a social gathering to close the day's events. See images!

Professors Lynes and Graf part of a team that received a multi-institution grant to study syndrome affecting children with Covid 19

January 5, 2021

Michael Lynes and Joerg Graf are part of a multi-institution grant to develop biomarker signatures for MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children) that can develop children infected with coronavirus. The Lynes research team will use the grating coupled surface plasmon resonance imaging systems that they have developed with Ciencia, Inc. to measure biomarker signatures in serum and saliva, and the Graf group will identify the composition of the microbiome in the saliva of these patients.  In concert with measures made at the NY Department of Health, Connecticut Children’s Hospital, Jackson Laboratory of Genomic Medicine, and NYU, the plan is to use these biomarker signatures both to diagnose and predict the course of MIS-C disease, and to suggest new and effective therapeutic interventions.

Learn more about the NIH studies

MCB PhD Candidate Kate Castellano Receives 2020 GIGA Fellowship

December 21, 2020

The Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA) has announced that Kate Castellano has received the inaugural GIGA Fellowship in Invertebrate Genomics 2020 Award.


GIGA is dedicated to promoting resources and standards that will facilitate comparative approaches and collaborations for future generations.

About Kate GIGA stated, “With these objectives in mind, we are excited to see Kate’s research that investigates reproductive life history of salps, a group that is in need for expanded genomic resources. We were impressed by her research statement, thoughtful budget and her desire to train future generations in invertebrate –OMICS research.”

Learn more about GIGA

Dr. Kat Milligan-Myhre featured in Indigenous at UConn Video

December 2, 2020

MCB Assistant Professor, Kat Milligan-Myhre was featured in a recent video, Indigenous at UConn, created by UConn Native American Cultural Programs. In the video,  Milligan-Mhyre speaks about both her culture and her science.

“Honk if you Love Squid” MCB’s Sarah McAnulty and her Squidmobile Get Noticed

November 30, 2020

Assistant Research Professor, Sarah McAnulty, was recently featured in an article, "When you text the Squidmobile, this Fishtown scientist texts back squid words of wisdom" in the Philadelphia Inquirer. When squid biologist Sarah McAnulty decided to cover her Toyota RAV4 with paintings of squid and write the words “WANT A SQUID FACT? Text 9-RUNG-SQUID” on the back, she was ready for things to get weird. And she was not disappointed. Read full article


Alder Research Group Receives Multiple Grant Awards

October 28, 2020

The Alder Lab, Nathan Alder PI, was recently awarded three substantial grants. The first, a grant from the National Institute on Aging, (R01AG065879), "First-in-class Peptide Therapeutics for Mitochondrial Disorders: Molecular Mechanism of Action and Optimization of Design." This five-year R01 for $2.5M is focused on investigating the molecular basis by which mitochondria-targeted peptide compounds interact with membranes and their downstream effects on membrane biophysical properties, protein complex structure and function, and mitochondrial physiology. This is a highly multidisciplinary project that includes collaborators within MCB and from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Alexandria LaunchLabs. View Abstract   
Alder's research was featured in UConn Today.

The Barth Syndrome Foundation awarded the group a $50K grant to develop peptide-based therapeutics specifically for the treatment of Barth Syndrome (BTHS), "Development of Mitochondria-Targeted Peptide Compounds as Barth Syndrome Therapeutics." BTHS is an X-linked genetic disease resulting from defects in the transacylase enzyme tafazzin, involved in biosynthetic remodeling of the mitochondrial phospholipid cardiolipin. Using a host of biophysical approaches with model membrane systems and disease models, this work will explore a library of compound variants optimized as therapeutics for treating dysfunctional cardiolipin biogenesis. Learn more about how this grant will be used.

The group also received a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Grant (R01GM136975), "Mitochondrial Membrane Compartmentalization". This is a multi-PI grant, with collaborator Dr. Steven Claypool (JHU School of Medicine), for $774K over two years. The objective of this work is to elucidate spatial and temporal distribution of lipids and proteins within the subcompartments of the morphologically complex mitochondrion. This will identify how the organelle establishes its ultrastructure as well as differences in spatiotemporal macromolecular distribution relevant to human disease and cellular stressors. This work utilizes novel membrane-active copolymers that extract membrane nanoparticles amenable for protein and lipid analysis. View Abstract

To learn more about the Alder Lab and their research, visit their lab website.

MCB Successfully Finds New Classroom Solutions to Keep Students Safe During the Pandemic.

October 22, 2020

Professors, graduate assistants and support staff have made significant adjustments to courses, preparing multiple lesson plans to meet the needs of in-person and distance learners.

MCB 2610
Molecular and cell biology graduate student Ashley Reed leads a virtual session of MCB 2610: Fundamentals of Microbiology in the Torrey Life Sciences Building on October 6, 2020. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

Andong Li, a graduate student the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, leads an online lab section of MCB 2000 on October 7, 2020. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

Professors, graduate assistants and support staff have made significant adjustments to courses, preparing multiple lesson plans to meet the needs of in-person and distance learners.
Molecular and cell biology graduate student Joshua Calabrese leads a lab section of MCB 3010: Biochemistry in the Torrey Life Sciences Building on October 6, 2020. (Bri Diaz/UConn Photo)

Story in UConn Today

David Goldhamer awarded an NIH R01 grant for $2.2M to study Regulation of Satellite Cell Development, Programming and Differentiation by Myogenic Factors

October 9, 2020

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has awarded David Goldhamer, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology a $2.2 million, 5-year award to study Satellite cells. Satellite cells are responsible for the marked regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle. Although these stem cells were discovered more than 50 years ago, the molecular mechanisms that program satellite cells for muscle differentiation are incompletely understood. Using unique mouse lines and strategies, the proposed studies will determine the functions of two key myogenic regulatory proteins (MyoD and Myf5) in satellite cell development, myogenic programming and differentiation.

View complete abstract