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Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy

Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy

Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy

UC Davis, the third largest of the 10 campus UC System, is now ranked among the top 10 public universities in the nation. UCD includes the main campus in Davis, and the Health System campus in Sacramento, which includes the School of Medicine. Our department is one of the 6 basic science departments in the School of Medicine. While the Health System clinical and educational facilities are located on the Sacramento campus, the Health System research mission has a presence on both campuses, with the basic science departments located on the Davis campus. This arrangement places us in a great position to bridge the research missions of the Health System, with that of the main campus, which is home to one of the largest biological science faculties in the nation, and which includes both the College of Biological Sciences and School of Veterinary Medicine.

As part of an overall strategy of building its research strength, the School of Medicine committed to renovation and expansion of its basic research mission. As a result, UC Davis Medical School has had the fastest growth in basic research funding of all US medical schools for several years running. Our department is now nearing completion of the renovation of 19,000 square feet of research space, and is in the middle of hiring 6 new faculty and enhancing the research core facilities. Our growth is occurring in parallel with the expansion and renovation of several of the biological science units on campus, and in the Health System, creating an environment rich in opportunity for creative young scientists motivated to take advantage of a wealth of collaborative opportunities.



 Of all the recent advances in science and medicine, one of the most promising relates to stem cells. Are they a miracle cure? What dangers lurk? Dr. Paul Knoepfler from UC Davis School of Medicine and author of Stem Cells - An Insider's Guide discusses the research and future of stem cells. Click here to learn more.


 A Recent publication of the SDSL EPR and crystallographic structure of a tetrameric fragment of Vimentin, from the FitzGerald and Voss labs, was featured on the Nature Structural Biology website, under Research Advances: Symmetry from Asymmetry . The feature may be found here.



Paul Knoepfler, Ph.D.Paul Knoepfler, Ph.D., associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy, will be honored in December by the Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) with one of its annual Stem Cell Action awards. This news article can be found here.


Ed Pugh, Jr., Ph.D.Ed Pugh, Jr., Ph.D. Principal Investigator on a UC Davis RISE proposal which was awarded almost $900,000 to develop optical capabilities to image retinal cells.



Richard Tucker, Ph.D.Richard Tucker, Ph.D., for receiving both the UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, and the School of Medicine's Kaiser Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Basic Science to medical students.


Jan Nolta, Ph.D.Jan Nolta, Ph.D., Director of the UC Davis Stem Cell Program and its Institute for Regenerative Cures, whose teams recently received $53 Million in funding for the application of stem cells to the treatment of several different human diseases.




The Department is in the midst of a multi-year plan to expand, and to build research strength in the Vision Sciences. By September 2012, four well-established Vision Science investigators will have joined the Department. These faculty will complement existing department strengths in stem cells, neurobiology, and cell biology, and existing campus strength in the Vision Sciences (


Henry Ho, Ph.D.In July 2013, Henry Ho. Ph.D. joined us from Harvard Medical School, where he conducted his graduate and postdoctoral training. Dr. Ho’s laboratory uses mouse genetics and biochemistry to understand the basic principles of cell-cell interactions during mammalian development, and how dysregulation of these mechanisms gives rise to birth defect, tissue degeneration and malignancy.


Nadean Brown, Ph.D.In spring of 2012, Nadean Brown, Ph.D., joined us from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Dr Brown uses molecular genetic approaches to study the mechanisms of lens and retinal development.


Tom Glaser, MD, Ph.D.Also in Spring 2012, Tom Glaser, MD, Ph.D. joined the department. Dr. Glaser's research seeks to unravel the genetic basis for human retinal diseases, and to determine the pathogenic mechanisms of such disorders.


Edward Pugh, Jr, Ph.D.In August 2012 Edward Pugh, Jr, Ph.D., will be moving his lab to the Department. Dr. Pugh uses high resolution microscopy and cell/molecular approaches to decipher the mechanisms by which light is transduced into electrical activity in the retina.


Marie Burns, Ph.D.Also moving into the Department in August, 2012 is Marie Burns, Ph.D., jointly appointed in Ophthalmology. Dr. Burns uses a range of molecular and physiologic approaches to define the components, and regulation of the signal transduction that converts light into electrical impulses in the rod cells of the retina.


Blogoshphere as a means of scientific communication?

Dr. Paul Knoepfler Associate Professor Paul Knoepfler explains why he joined the ranks of the blogoshpere, and why you should too.

More about Dr. Knoepfler's blog in "Nature News"