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Undergraduate Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions


Gateway Course: MCB 60 “Cellular Biology & Molecular Medicine”

An introduction to the principles of molecular and cellular biology using medical syndromes to highlight the biological mechanisms that underpin human disease and physiology. Topics include DNA repair, protein folding, and cancer, with an emphasis on the experimental evidence for key concepts. Includes weekly lab-based research and discussions of the primary literature.

  • Instructors: Vlad Denic, Alex Schier
  • Semester: Fall

MCB Courses by Subject Area

Structure and Function of Molecules:

These courses cover the structure of macromolecules and a biochemical approach to cellular function.

  • MCB 63 “Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine”
  • MCB 65 “Physical Biochemistry: Understanding Macromolecular Machines”
  • MCB 176 “Biochemistry of Membranes”
  • MCB 178 “Biochemistry of Protein Complexes”
  • MCB 188 “Chromosomes”

Cell Organization and Behavior:

These courses cover the organization of single-celled and multicellular organisms and the behavior of the cells therein, from microbes or neurons.

  • MCB 64 “The Cell Biology of Human Life”
  • MCB 68 “Cell Biology Through the Microscope”
  • MCB 80 “Neurobiology of Behavior”
  • MCB 105 “Systems Neuroscience”
  • MCB 115 “Cellular Basis of Neuronal Function”
  • MCB 121 “The Microbes”
  • MCB 129 “The Brain: Development Plasticity and Decline”
  • MCB 141 “Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Senses and their Disorders”
  • MCB 186 ”Circadian Biology: from Cellular Oscillators to Sleep Regulation”


These courses focus on human health and how the disruption of normal biological processes leads to disease.

  • MCB 63 “Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine”
  • MCB 64 “The Cell Biology of Human Life”
  • LS 120 “Global Health Threats”
  • MCB 169 “Molecular and Cellular Immunology”
  • MCB XXX “Cell Cycle and Cancer”
  • MCB 165 “Viruses and their Interactions with Hosts”

Logic and the Scientific Approach:

These courses provide a conceptual and methodological framework for scientific inquiry, i.e. how we know what know and what we don’t.

  • MCB 68 “Cell Biology Through the Microscope”
  • MCB 111 “Mathematics in Biology”
  • MCB 142 “Major Advances in Classical and Molecular Genetics”
  • MCB 144 “The Power and Pitfalls of Genetical Thinking”
  • MCB 151 ”From the Gene to the Phenotype: A Genomics Perspective”
  • MCB 162 “Major Advances in Understanding Heredity and Evolution”
  • MCB 195 “Foundations of Systems Biology and Biological Engineering”
  • MCB 198 “Advanced Mathematical Techniques for Modern Biology”
  • MCB 199 “Statistical Thermodynamics and Quantitative Biology”

Learn More:

  • List of Upper-Level Courses
  • Tutorial Program