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Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics, and Development (MCGD) Track

MCGD Track Leadership

  • Valerie Horsley

    Co-Director Academics, MCGD Track

    Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Associate Professor of Dermatology

    Research Interests
    • Dermatology
    • Epithelial Cells
    • Molecular Biology
    • Regeneration
    • Skin Diseases
    • Stem Cells
    • Tissue Survival

    Valerie Horsley began her scientific training as an undergraduate at Furman University and was awarded her Ph.D. from Emory University. After completing a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation postdoctoral fellowship in Elaine Fuchs’ laboratory at Rockefeller University, Valerie started her independent laboratory at Yale University in the Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology. Horsley’s lab uses the mouse as a genetic model system to study how adult stem cells within epithelial tissues maintain tissue homeostasis, can contribute to wound healing, and can be a factor in cancer formation. She is now the Maxine F. Singer Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale, has received a number of awards including the Pew Scholar Award, Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award.

  • Andrew Xiao

    Co-Director Admissions, MCGD Track

    Associate Professor of Genetics

    Research Interests
    • Chromatin
    • DNA Damage
    • Genetics
    • Histones
    • Neural Crest
    • Stem Cells
    • Cellular Reprogramming

    Dr. Andrew Xiao is an associate professor in the Department of Genetics at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is a member of the Yale Stem Cell Center. Dr. Xiao’s laboratory focuses on epigenetic regulation in pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotenct stem cells (iPSC). His laboratory has made significant contributions to the understanding of the maintenance of pluripotency, as well as the recent discovery of novel epigenetic mechanisms, i.e., N6-methyl-adenine, in mammalian genomes. Dr. Xiao received his Ph.D degree from Terry Van Dyke’s lab at UNC-Chapel Hill and postdoctoral training from David Allis’ lab at Rockefeller University. Since 2009, Andrew Xiao is a recipient of the NCI Howard Temin Award in Cancer Research (K99/R00) and in 2012, he received the New Scholar Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation.



  • Murat Acar

    Associate Professor of Molecular, Celluar and Developmental Biology

    Research Interests
    • Aging
    • Molecular Biology
    • Systems Biology
    • Gene Regulatory Networks
    • Synthetic Biology
  • Claudio R. Alarcón

    Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

    Research Interests
    • Neoplasm Metastasis

    Our lab uses multidisciplinary approaches to understand the impact of RNA metabolism in development, health and disease. We are primarily focused in identifying the physiological and pathophysiological roles of RNA modifications and non-coding RNAs at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels. Claudio, a native of Chile, obtained his Ph.D. from Cornell University in NYC. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University before joining Yale University in 2017.

  • Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Assistant Professor

    Research Interests
    • Endoplasmic Reticulum
    • Molecular Biology
    • Nuclear Envelope
    • Organelles
    • Caenorhabditis elegans
    • Lamins
    • Lipid Metabolism
    • Diseases

    Dr. Bahmanyar received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. from Stanford University.  She was a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Karen Oegema at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UC San Diego where she recognized the advantages of the early C. elegans embryo as a tractable model system to dissect mechanisms that control nuclear envelope dynamics to ensure genome protection. Her post-doctoral work with elucidated an important new principle involving local regulation of phospholipid synthesis in specifying the nuclear envelope domain within the continuous endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Her work now is focused on elucidating mechanisms underpinning regulatory roles for lipid composition and dynamics in nuclear envelope and ER membrane remodeling and genome protection. 

  • Susan Baserga

    Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, of Genetics and of Therapeutic Radiology

    Research Interests
    • Organelle Biogenesis
    • Genetics
    • Molecular Biology
    • Ribonucleoproteins
    • Radiation Oncology
    • RNA Helicases
    • Genes, rRNA
  • Anton Bennett

    Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Pharmacology and Professor of Comparative Medicine; Co-Director, Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism; Director, BBS Minority Affairs

  • Joerg Bewersdorf

    Professor of Cell Biology and of Biomedical Engineering

    Research Interests
    • Cell Nucleus
    • Endoplasmic Reticulum
    • Microscopy, Fluorescence
    • Microscopy, Confocal
    • Cellular Structures

    Joerg Bewersdorf is a Professor of Cell Biology and of Biomedical Engineering at Yale University. He received his Master's degree (Dipl. Phys., 1998) and his doctoral degree in physics (Dr. rer. nat., 2002) training with Dr. Stefan W. Hell at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany. After 4 years at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, he relocated his research group to Yale University in 2009. An optical physicist/biophysicist by training, Dr. Bewersdorf has been a long-time contributor to the field of super-resolution light microscopy development and the application of these techniques to cell biological questions.

  • Kaya Bilguvar

    Assistant Professor of Genetics; Associate Director, Yale Center for Genome Analysis

    Research Interests
    • Cerebrovascular Disorders
    • Migraine Disorders
    • Neurodegenerative Diseases
    • Malformations of Cortical Development
  • Jonathan Bogan

    Associate Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) and of Cell Biology

    Research Interests
    • Cell Biology
    • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
    • Endocrinology
    • Glucose
    • Metabolic Diseases
    • Protein Transport
  • Ronald Breaker

    Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

    Research Interests
    • Bacteria
    • Biochemistry
    • Biology
    • Biotechnology
    • Fungi
    • Genetics, Microbial
    • Microbiology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Computational Biology
    • Genomics
    • Metabolomics

    Dr. Breaker is a Sterling Professor of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, is jointly appointed as a professor in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His graduate studies with Dr. Peter Gilham at Purdue University focused on the synthesis of RNA and the catalytic properties of nucleic acids. As a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Gerald Joyce at The Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Breaker pioneered a variety of in vitro evolution strategies to isolate novel RNA enzymes and was the first to discover catalytic DNAs or “deoxyribozymes” using this technology. Since establishing his laboratory at Yale in 1995, Dr. Breaker has continued to conduct research on the advanced functions of nucleic acids, including ribozyme reaction mechanisms, molecular switch technology, next-generation biosensors, and catalytic DNA engineering. In addition, his laboratory has established the first proofs that metabolites are directly bound by messenger RNA elements called riboswitches. Dr. Breaker’s research findings have been published in more than 220 scientific papers, book chapters, and patent applications, and his research has been funded by grants from the NIH, NSF, DARPA, the Hereditary Disease Foundation, and from several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Hellman Family Trust. In recognition of his research accomplishments at Yale, Dr. Breaker received the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize (1997), the Eli Lilly Award in Microbiology (2005), the Molecular Biology Award from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2006), and the Merck Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2016). Dr. Breaker was inducted into the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2014. He has cofounded two biotechnology companies and is a scientific advisor for industry and for various government agencies. He serves on the editorial board for the scientific journals RNA Biology, RNA, and Cell Chemical Biology.

  • David Breslow

    Assistant Professor, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

    Research Interests
    • Cell Compartmentation
    • Cell Cycle
    • Cell Biology
    • Homeostasis
    • Signal Transduction
    • Genomics
    • Organelle Shape
    • High-Throughput Screening Assays

    David Breslow is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University. David received an A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University in 2004, working in the laboratory of Dr. Stuart Schreiber. David then did his graduate work at the University of California, San Francisco in Dr. Jonathan Weissman’s lab. There he developed new high-throughput functional genomic tools for budding yeast and defined the function of Orm family proteins in sphingolipid homeostasis. As a postdoctoral fellow, David worked with Dr. Maxence Nachury at Stanford University, where he used a semi-permeabilized cell system to study protein entry into primary cilia and developed a CRISPR/Cas9-based screening platform to investigate ciliary signaling. A central focus of David’s work has been applying new systematic approaches to address fundamental questions in cell biology, with a current emphasis on the regulation and functions of the mammalian primary cilium. David joined the Yale MCDB faculty in January 2017.

  • Gary Brudvig

    Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry

    Research Interests
    • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
    • Metalloproteins
    • Molecular Biology
    • Photosynthesis

    A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Prof. Gary Brudvig earned his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology. He joined the Yale faculty in 1982. In addition to serving as a professor in and chair of the Department of Chemistry, he is also Director of the Energy Sciences Institute on Yale's West Campus, is a professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry and is affiliated with the Yale Center for Green Chemistry.

    Brudvig is the project leader of a team of Yale chemists and other scientists who, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy, are hoping to improve the efficiency of solar-energy utilization. Its aim is to attach manganese complexes to titanium dioxide nanoparticles in order to develop a system that will efficiently produce renewable fuel using solar energy.

    From 1983 to 1986, Brudvig was a Searle Scholar at Yale. The Searle Scholarship program supports outstanding work by junior faculty members at select academic institutions. He was the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar, a distinction given to “talented young faculty in the chemical sciences,” from 1985 to 1990. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow 1986-1988.

    Brudvig was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.

  • Martina Brueckner

    Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology)

    Research Interests
    • Cardiology
    • Genetics
    • Heart Diseases
    • Kartagener Syndrome
    • Situs Inversus
    • Heterotaxy Syndrome

    Martina Brueckner obtained her BS and MD degrees from the University of Virginia, followed by a Pediatric Residency at the University of Pittsburgh and a Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. Her clinical and research focus is genetics of congenital heart disease (CHD). The goal of the lab's work is to determine the genetic cause and developmental mechanisms underlying CHD with a focus on the function of cilia in heart development. Our work aims to bridge research in the basic developmental biology mechanisms underlying development of the embryonic left-right axis with clinical pediatric cardiology and cardiac genetics.  The laboratory has been integral in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanism underlying vertebrate LR asymmetry, identifying genes and mechanism by which motile and immotile cilia establish an early asymmetric calcium signal that is essential to normal LR development of the heart. As part of the Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium (PCGC), we are now combining our understanding of the basic biology underlying left-right development with state-of-the-art genomic approaches to a more comprehensive understanding of human CHD. We are focusing on the ability to identify the genetic causes of CHD, and to directly test putative genetic causes of human CHD identified from genomic analysis of patient DNA in animal model systems including mouse and zebrafish, and finally to  link genetic and developmental mechanisms of CHD to improved care of patients with CHD.

    Dr. Brueckner's clinical focus is on patients with genetic causes of congenital heart disease. It has become increasingly apparent that a large portion of cardiovascular disease in children and adolescents has as its underlying etiology a genetic defect.  Dr. Brueckner co-founded one of the first pediatric cardiac genetics clinics at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. The clinic provides comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and follow-up care for patients with genetic-cardiovascular disease. Dr. Brueckner has been a staff cardiologist since completing her fellowship at Yale in 1990.

  • William Cafferty

    Associate Professor of Neurology and of Neuroscience

    Research Interests
    • Brain Diseases
    • Demyelinating Diseases
    • Pain
    • Spinal Cord Injuries
    • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • David Calderwood

    Associate Professor of Pharmacology and of Cell Biology

    Research Interests
    • Biochemistry
    • Cardiovascular Diseases
    • Cell Adhesion
    • Cell Biology
    • Cytoskeleton
    • Pharmacology
    • Integrins
    • Transcellular Cell Migration
  • Michael Caplan

    C. N. H. Long Professor of Cellular And Molecular Physiology and Professor of Cell Biology; Chair, Cellular and Molecular Physiology

    Research Interests
    • Cell Biology
    • Epithelial Cells
    • Kidney
    • Polycystic Kidney Diseases
    • Physiology
    • Ion Pumps

    Michael J. Caplan received his bachelors degree from Harvard University and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University in 1987. He joined Yale's Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology as a faculty member in 1988, and is currently the C.N.H. Long Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Cell Biology.

    He has received fellowships from the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation for Science and Engineering, and a National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. He has also received the Young Investigator Awards from the American Physiological Society and the American Society of Nephrologists.

    His work focuses on understanding the ways in which kidney cells organize and maintain their unique structures. His laboratory also studies the mechanisms responsible for Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, and is working to identify targets for new therapies.

  • John Carlson

    Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

    Research Interests
    • Arthropod Vectors
    • Drosophila
    • Smell
    • Taste
  • Sreeganga Chandra

    Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience; Associate Professor, Neurology; Associate Professor of Neuroscience; Deputy Chair of Neuroscience

    Research Interests
    • Neurology
    • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses
    • Parkinson Disease
    • Synapses
    • Receptors, Presynaptic
    • Neurodegenerative Diseases

    Sreeganga S. Chandra received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Purdue University. In her postdoctoral research, she pursued her interest in neuronal cell biology and neurodegeneration in the lab of Thomas C. Südhof at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology, and Neuroscience. She is also the Deputy Chair for the Department of Neuroscience. 

  • Grace Chen

    Assistant Professor

    Grace Chen received her undergraduate training in the College of Chemistry at UC Berkeley. She attended Harvard University for her PhD where she worked in David Liu's laboratory to discover and characterize novel RNA modifications. Her postdoctoral research was at Stanford University in Howard Chang's group, where she investigated circular RNA immunity. Grace Chen joined Yale University as a faculty in the Department of Immunobiology in 2019. Her research focuses on the functions and regulations of circular RNAs in health and disease.

  • Sidi Chen

    Assistant Professor

    Research Interests
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
    • Genetics
    • Immunity
    • Immunotherapy
    • Lymphocytes
    • Neoplasm Metastasis
    • Stem Cells
    • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
    • Genomics
    • Systems Biology
    • Metabolomics
    • Bioengineering
    • Synthetic Biology
    • CRISPR-Cas Systems

    Sidi Chen joined the Yale Faculty in 2015 as an assistant professor in the Department of Genetics and Systems Biology Institute, also as a member of the Yale Cancer Center and the Yale Stem Cell Center. Chen earned a PhD in evolutionary genetics from The University of Chicago with an award-winning dissertation with Dr. Manyuan Long. After graduation he performed postdoctoral studies at MIT under the mentorship of Dr. Phil Sharp, and also the Broad Institute working with Dr. Feng Zhang. His research focuses on providing a global understanding of biological systems. Chen developed and applied genome editing and high-throughput screening technologies, precision CRISPR-based in vivo models of cancer, global mapping of functional drivers of cancer oncogenesis and metastasis. More recently, he developed novel systems that enable rapid identification of novel immunotherapy targets and new modalities of cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Chen received a number of national and international awards including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellow, Dale Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists, AACR NextGen Award for Transformative Cancer Research, TMKF Innovative/Translation Cancer Research Award, BCA Exceptional Research Grant Award, MRA Young Investigator Award, V Scholar, Bohmfalk Scholar, Ludwig Family Foundation Award, St. Baldrick’s Foundation Award, CRI Clinic & Laboratory Integration Program (CLIP), MIT TechReview Regional 35 Innovators, and Sontag Foundation Distinguished Scientist Award.