Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

The Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (GMCDB) supports research to understand the structure and function of cells and cellular components, and the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie inheritance, gene expression, and development. The results of this research form the foundation for advances in diagnosing, preventing, treating, and curing a wide variety of diseases. Most of the projects supported by the division make use of research organisms​, which advance the general understanding of biological processes. In most cases, research whose overall goal is to gain knowledge about a specific organ or organ system or the pathophysiology, treatment, or cure of a specific disease or condition is not supported by the GMCDB division.

Research areas NIGMS supports within this division and contact names are listed on the Contacts by Research Area page. For a list of all GMCDB staff and links to their biographical sketches, see the Division Staff Contacts page.

The division consists of three branches:

Cell Biology Branch

This branch supports studies on the molecular basis of cellular function in a wide range of cell types and research organisms. Research topics include:

  • plasma and intracellular membrane systems and functions
  • protein processing, membrane trafficking, and intracellular transport
  • cellular aspects of protein folding
  • organelle biogenesis, inheritance, and dynamics
  • cell division
  • cytoskeletal structure and function
  • cellular organization, motility, and mechanics
  • cell adhesion and signaling
  • cell-cell junctions and interactions
  • mechanisms of cell death
  • cellular signaling in growth

Developmental and Cellular Processes Branch

This branch supports studies on the genetic and biochemical pathways that cells utilize in development and in normal physiological processes. Research topics include:

  • stem cell biology
  • developmental genetics
  • developmental signaling
  • genetics of behavior and circadian biology
  • chromosome structure and epigenetic regulation of gene expression
  • population genetics and evolution
  • adaptive responses to stress and nutrients
  • microbiome, biofilms, and quorum sensing
  • organismal response to the environment​

Genetic Mechanisms Branch

This branch supports studies on the mechanism and regulation of basic molecular processes and the interactions among these processes. Research topics include:

  • DNA and RNA metabolism (i.e., replication, modification, processing, and repair)
  • transcription and gene regulatory networks
  • coding and noncoding RNA mechanisms of action and function
  • protein synthesis
  • the genetic basis of human biology
  • chromosomal and genome stability

Along with its research and research training activities, the division supports the NIGMS Human Genetic Cell Repository, which maintains and distributes to research scientists cell lines and DNA samples from people with and without genetic disorders.

For more information, contact:

Shawn Gaillard​, Ph.D.
​Director, Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
National Institute of General Medical Sciences
National Institutes of Health
45 Center Drive MSC 6200
Bethesda, MD 20892-6200