Education of medical students and doctoral students in the biomedical sciences has been an important mission of the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology from its inception. We are the intellectual and spiritual home for the Program in Molecular Cell Biology, the largest PhD program in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.

Graduate programs are organized under the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences is organized into 13 academic programs, each representing a different scientific area. At the beginning of the 2019 academic year, Division students numbered 698, with 494 enrolled in PhD training and 204 pursuing the combined MD/ PhD degree under the auspices of the Medical Scientist Training Program. Students receive current guidelines for these programs upon matriculation, and periodic updates as changes occur. These guidelines provide students with policies, procedures, and requirements specific to the academic program in which they are enrolled. In addition, the Division offers several Special Emphasis Pathways to enhance our rigorous graduate training. Career Development is available, as well, to assist students with planning for life after grad school.

Huettner Lab

Graduate trainees in the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology receive:

  • Experience in a world-class training environment
  • Access to cutting-edge technologies to solve challenging independent research problems
  • Mentoring and instruction from leading experts in the fields of cell biology, physiology and beyond
  • Have opportunities for career development, outreach, social engagement, and more!

Pathways in Graduate Education

In addition to teaching graduate courses, our faculty participate in the various ‘Pathways in Graduate Education’ offered by DBBS. The pathways provide specialized courses of study that are undertaken as part of the student’s regular course work.

Bob Mercer Travel Award

Robert Mercer
Robert Mercer, PhD

The Mercer Student Travel Award will be given to one PhD or MSTP student performing thesis research in a CB&P lab. PhD students in their third year or later and MSTP students in their second year or later in the lab are eligible to apply. The $1,500 award can be used for up to one year to attend a conference or short course (July 1-June 30).

To apply, please e-mail your CV and a brief essay describing how the meeting or course will benefit your research and career development to Sarah Watson (

The application deadline is May 1st every year.

Cell Biology & Physiology Faculty Courses

Advanced courses open to medical and graduate students provide for more detailed study of specific areas of cell biology, physiology and cellular biophysics.

Bio 5068 – Fundamentals of Molecular Cell Biology
Robert P. Mecham, PhD

Robert P. Mecham, PhD

Professor Emeritus, Cell Biology & Physiology

Michael Onken, PhD

Michael Onken, PhD

Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Bio 5224 – Molecular, Cell and Organ Systems
Eric Herzog, PhD

Eric Herzog, PhD

Viktor Hamburger Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, Professor of Biology

Looking for a lab rotation?