Welcome to the Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology (CMB) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 1961, CMB has been pioneering graduate education in the fields of cell biology and molecular biology. CMB provides the opportunity to work with over 200 faculty trainers, on a campus known for interdepartmental cooperation and collaboration. Currently there are around 130 students in the program, representing over 40 different departments. Coursework and research experience allow students to obtain a solid foundation in Cellular and Molecular Biology that is tailored to the professional objectives of each student. We encourage you to take personal lab tours through CMB labs, hear directly from students about their research, and virtually explore Madison and the UW-Madison campus through the videos on our YouTube channel. Program benefits include a competitive stipend, tuition coverage, comprehensive health benefits, and an excellent cost of living. The CMB Program only offers Fall semester admission. The application deadline is December 1.
- Provided that they make satisfactory progress towards their PhD, all CMB students are guaranteed a competitive stipend and tuition remission for the duration of their graduate studies.
- Students admitted to CMB complete three four-week laboratory rotations before choosing a faculty advisor. More information can be found in the Lab Rotations section of the CMB Handbook.
- Faculty trainers and students are arranged in thirteen research Focus Groups based on common scientific interests and strengths of the program. This structure allows students to explore the breadth of research across campus while accessing the expertise of each individual trainer
- The CMB Program requirements emphasize research and coursework tailored to each student’s professional objectives. CMB’s course load requirements are relatively light and CMB does not have a teaching requirement. This allows students to have flexibility in tailoring the program to meet their needs and gives the program a strong focus on research.
- CMB students have a strong publication record, with an average of 4.5 publications per student and 2.2 first author or co-first author publications per student at the time of graduation. View the full list of recent CMB graduates’ publications.
- On average, CMB students graduate in 5.43 years. Click here for more information.
- Students are actively involved in the Program’s standing committees and all major activities including admissions, recruiting, orientation, and the fall retreat. CMB strives to offer a wide variety of additional activities and opportunities to support students well beyond coursework and annual requirements.
- The CMB Program strives to create a diverse and inclusive environment for students and believes that diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation.
- When not in the lab or in class, students enjoy all that the campus community can provide–the urban setting of downtown Madison with myriad cultural events, as well as the outdoor recreation that the city’s lakes and parks have to offer
If you’d like to learn about the development of the molecular biology program at the university, as well as the Molecular Biology and Molecular Virology Laboratory (known today as Bock Laboratories, the home of the CMB Program), this paper by Harlyn Halvorson details the interesting history.
Luis entered the CMB Program in 2019 and is a student in the Thomas C. Friedrich Lab. He currently works with understanding the diversification of Influenza A viruses during infection and transmission by using deep sequencing technologies and analyzing data from the genomic evolution standpoint.
"Surround yourself with friends that will help you navigate your feelings, fears, and imposter syndrome. Up to a certain point, we will all need to have a strong support network to succeed during the numerous challenges we will face during grad school, both personally and academically."
Morgan entered the CMB Program in 2017 and is a student in the Anna Huttenlocher Lab. Neutrophils are innate immune cells that can polarize to tumor-promoting or tumor-inhibiting phenotypes. Her research focuses on identifying external signals that might contribute to this polarization, including the role of skin microbiota in the melanoma tumor microenvironment.
"I was fascinated with science after undergrad and just wanted to keep learning. Now I know that post-graduation I want to teach and conduct research at a small college where I can interact closely with students."
Dom entered the CMB Program in 2020 and is a student in the Bill Bement Lab. He is studying the role of cortical excitability in cell division. Cortical excitability is characterized by the ability of proteins in the cell cortex to respond to and amplify signals from the cell. This amplification eventually leads to the formation of wavelike patterns of protein activity. My research aims to identify the mechanism of positive feedback for this process.
"I chose the UW-Madison CMB Program because it was the program had the best balance of great science and a fun lifestyle outside of the lab. I already knew of the CMB Program’s great reputation beforehand, but during my interview I got to experience Madison with a great group of current students that sold me on UW-Madison. Everyone during the weekend was genuinely enjoying their research and their time in the CMB Program, so I knew that I wanted to join that group."
Kate graduated from CMB in 2008 and is an Associate Professor of Biology at Loras College in Dubuque, IA.
"I love the challenge and puzzle of trying to find the best way to help my students understand certain concepts in cell biology. I really enjoy getting to know them as people and genuinely enjoy spending time with them in class."
Saheed received his PhD from CMB in 2014 and is currently a Scientist at Synthetic Genomics in La Jolla, CA.
"My role is still very research focused, which is great, and I’m doing work which I enjoy, trying to achieve a goal I believe in (cost effective, sustainable biofuel to help pull us back from the brink of destroying our planet)."
Laura is a Professor Biology at the University of Richmond, which is a primarily undergraduate institution. She graduated from CMB in 1996.
"UW-Madison’s CMB program was broad enough to allow me to explore several different areas of Biology since I was not sure what area of CMB I wanted to focus on for my dissertation work. Also, the faculty and students seemed very supportive and welcoming. This was especially important because I was a first generation college student, navigating very unfamiliar territory as a graduate student."