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Summer Courses

Physiology: Modern Cell Biology Using Microscopic, Biochemical and Computational Approaches

Directors: Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, National Institutes of Health; Wallace F. Marshall, University of California, San Francisco; and Rob Phillips, California Institute of Technology

Course Date: June 15 - August 3, 2014
Online Application , Deadline extended to February 7, 2014
Course Website
2013 Schedules (PDF):
Weeks 1 & 2 | Weeks 3 & 4 | Weeks 5-6 | Week 7

The Physiology Course has a rich history, dating back to 1892, of training the leaders in biology and generating Nobel Prize experiments. However, this is not your grandfather’s Physiology Course! This intensive laboratory course has been revamped to meet the new challenges in biology by providing a unique interdisciplinary training environment at the interface between cellular and computational biology. The Physiology Course will bring together biological and physical/computational scientists, both in the faculty and the student body, to work together on cutting-edge problems in cell physiology. Students will learn from leaders in the field of cellular physiology, microscopy, and computational analysis. Students with backgrounds in both the biological and physical/computational sciences are encouraged to apply.

The course design will promote learning by practice, with a particular emphasis on stimulating experimental creativity and interdisciplinary approaches. Biology students will leave the course able to understand and author computer simulations, and physical science students will leave understanding the language of biology, and with experience working on cutting edge biological problems. Students will participate in three research threads (cell division, cell migration, and signaling) that will run through the whole course. Each thread will intensively use microscopy, biochemistry, and computational analysis to address research problems in a highly collaborative setting. State-of-the-art microscopes, as well as other advanced equipment, will be available. It is anticipated that these threads will lead to research discoveries, as well as providing learning opportunities. Post course research opportunities exist for selected students.

To inspire students, and provide them with a sense of the history and future of cell physiology, a visiting scholar program has been established. This program brings four eminent scientists to the MBL for a week. They deliver one or more lectures to the entire community, and participate in both the intellectual and experimental aspects of the course.

This course is supported with funds provided by


National Institute of General Medical Sciences NIH

Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The Rockefeller University Press / Journal of Cell Biology

Center for Modular Biology, Harvard University

2013 Course Faculty & Lecturers

Bear, James, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Bettencourt-Dias, Monica, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
Canman, Julie, Columbia University Medical Center
Cohen, Adam, Harvard University
Cox, Jeffery, University of California San Francisco
Davidson, Michael, Florida State University
Derisi, Joseph, University of California San Francisco
Desai, Michael, Harvard University
Dunn, Alexander, Stanford University
El Samad, Hana, University of California San Francisco
Fischer, Robert, NHLBI / NIH
Fletcher, Daniel, University of California Berkeley
Gardner, Melissa, University of Minnesota
Gartner, Zev, University of California San Francisco
Heald, Rebecca, University of California Berkeley
King, Nicole, University of California Berkeley
Lechler, Terry, Duke University
Lippincott-Schwartz, Jennifer, National Institution of Health
Losick, Richard, Harvard University
Lynch, Michael, Indiana University
Marshall, Wallace, University of California San Francisco
Mayor, Satyajit, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Mitchison, Tim, Harvard Medical School
Murray, Andrew, Harvard University
Nelson, James, Stanford University
Odde, David, University of Minnesota
Peifer, Mark, University of North Carolina
Pereira-leal, Jose, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia
Phillips, Rob, California Institute of Technology
Piel, Matthieu, Institut Curie
Rao, Madan, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Reck-Peterson, Samara, Harvard Medical School
Roll-mecak, Antonina, National Institutes of Health
Rosen, Michael, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
National Institutes of Health
Shokat, Kevan, University of California San Francisco
Shroff, Hari, National Institutes of Health
Thorn, Kurt, University of California San Francisco
Vale, Ronald, University of California San Francisco
Wilhelm, Jim, University of California San Diego
York, Andrew, National Institutes of Health
Zhu, Cheng, Georgia Institute of Technology

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