Cell Biology

A cancer cell in a 3d rendered image
Doctor of Philosophy

About the Program

Take your study of the structure, function and behavior of cells to the highest levels when you pursue your PhD in Cell Biology at Case Western Reserve, one of the top research universities in the U.S. Offered through our Biomedical Sciences Training Program, this interdisciplinary degree allows you to focus on cell biology while also taking electives in related disciplines in the biomedical sciences. With that background, you’ll have a strong foundation to pursue a career as a medical scientist, biotechnology research scientist, or biochemist, to name a few options. And thanks to our location in Cleveland, Ohio, you’ll be in a great place to advance your career—there are more than 700 biotechnology and biomedical companies in town as well as four top medical institutions.

What to Expect

Your core classes will focus on yeast genetics and cell biology; cell biology and human disease; cells and pathogens; fundamental immunology; and cell signaling. From there, it’s up to you. Choose from electives such as molecular genetics of cancer, molecular biology of RNA, and cell and molecular neurobiology. 

In our program, you’ll have training opportunities as a research science professional not only through customizable coursework, but also conducting original research and attending countless seminars, journal clubs, workshops and laboratory meetings. The centerpiece of your training will be your research project that includes a written thesis, as well as preparation to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals. 

Our interdepartmental program includes faculty from basic science departments of the School of Medicine, clinical departments at University Hospitals, and the Lerner Research Institute of Cleveland Clinic. With dedicated faculty and passionate researchers from these institutes supporting you, you’ll have everything you need to advance the field of modern cell biology.

During your time here, you’ll have access to our National Institutes of Health-funded Center for AIDS Research, where more than 140 researchers conduct HIV/AIDS research across disciplines. It is one of just 18 centers in the U.S. working toward that goal.

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Beyond the Classroom

As you pursue your research interests here, you’ll have opportunities to show off your work—locally and internationally. Whether you choose to go to the Gordon Conferences, the American Society for Microbiology Conference or another convention, our faculty will be there to support you as you prepare your presentation. If you’re more interested in attending seminars rather than presenting, check out the Lester O. Krampitz Seminars and the Center For AIDS Research’s Leaders in AIDS speaker program, both of which host top researchers.

You’ll also have dozens of on-campus clubs to choose from. The Bug Club, for example, hosts chats on virology, microbiology, antibiotic resistance and parasites, while other School of Medicine Journal Club participants prompt discussions on HIV/AIDs, immunology and more.

By the Numbers


tuition coverage, including health insurance


medical research school in the nation, U.S. News & World Report


private institution in federal expenditures for research and development, National Science Foundation


in the world for contributions to innovation, Nature Index Innovation

Admissions Requirements

Our program thrives when we have students with diverse perspectives and a range of educational, professional and life experiences. We look forward to learning more about you!

The application process requires:

  • Online application, including a statement of purpose
  • $50 application fee
  • Bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree from an accredited institution (either already complete, or will be complete before you enroll)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Current resume/CV
  • List of research experiences (optional)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • International applicants: Results of TOEFL, IELTS or PTE

Contact Us

Alan Levine
Alan Levine, PhD
Graduate Program Director, Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
School of Medicine

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