Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology


Professor of the Practice of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Faculty Director of HarvardX

Email: lue@harvard.edu
Phone: 617-495-9924

Mail: 1059 B
The Biological Labs
16 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA  02138

Division of Science Profile Page


MCB 64. The Cell Biology of Human Life in the World
Catalog Number: 74654  View Course Website
Term: Spring Term 2014-2015.
Instructor: Robert Lue
Course Level: Primarily for Undergraduates
Description: This course teaches fundamental concepts in cell biology in the context of individual life histories drawn from different parts of the world. Each life case focuses on key aspects of human development, growth, aging and disease while providing a nuanced view of the interplay between the life sciences, geography and culture. For example, a comparative discussion of aging in the United States and Japan is used to explore diet, cellular metabolism and its relationship to protein damage and turnover, while the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS in South Asia is used to explore mucosal immunity and the basis for estimating relative infection risk. Each case delves into the cell biology of major biological events across the life history of the human
Meetings: M., W., 1-2:30
LIFESCI 1a. An Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology
Catalog Number: 2137  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term 2014-2015.
Instructors: Daniel Kahne, Richard Losick, Robert Lue, Susan Mango
Course Level: Primarily for Undergraduates
Description: What are the fundamental features of living systems? What are the molecules imparting them and how do their chemical properties explain their biological roles? The answers form a basis for understanding the molecules of life, the cell, diseases, and medicines. In contrast with traditional presentations of relevant scientific disciplines in separate courses, we take an integrated approach, presenting chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology framed within central problems such as the biology of HIV and cancer.
Note: For more information about the assignment process, please see the course website in the fall. This course, in combination with Life Sciences 1b, constitutes an integrated introduction to the Life Sciences. This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the General Education requirement in Science of Living Systems.
Meetings: Tu., Th., 1–2:30;
(View all MCB Courses)


Our research focuses on defining and assessing how large research universities such as Harvard can more effectively foster new generations of scientists as well as science-literate citizens. Undergraduate education in the life sciences at Harvard has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. Life sciences education now encompasses collaboration between seven departments: Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Human Evolutionary Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Psychology, Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, and Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Noteworthy results of this collaboration include a novel, interdisciplinary set of foundation courses and a coordinated cluster of undergraduate concentrations that allows students to develop their interests in coherent areas of inquiry within the life sciences.

Our research on the knowledge, habits of mind, and skill-sets that we hope to foster in students is organized around three critical facets of 21st century science. We believe that in addition to the role of Researcher, every good scientist also assumes the additional roles of Educator and Citizen. Too often these roles are viewed as competing with one another. We believe this is entirely unwarranted and that developing ways to promote synergy between the three roles is an essential part of training future scientists. To this end, our group seeks to develop and assess new methods to foster all three roles that together define a worthwhile life in science.

To foster future scientists as Researchers, our current projects focus on new hands-on opportunities for undergraduates that include interdisciplinary connections between fields. In addition, we continue to develop novel multimedia tools that enable students to more rigorously interrogate models as they combine data from different experimental approaches.

To foster future scientists as Educators, our current projects focus on ways to make teaching and mentoring a more integral part of how we train graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

To foster future scientists as Citizens, we are developing mechanisms for supporting the involvement of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in a range of science outreach activities. Current projects focus on ways to motivate and retain high school teachers, and to sustain long-term mentoring relationships with the children of neighboring communities.

For more information on some of our projects:

Bio Visions at Harvard

Harvard Life Sciences Outreach Program

Undergraduate Education in the Life Sciences


Harvard Allston Education Portal

updated: 10/13/2016