Cell and Molecular Biology Department

Cell and molecular biology (CMB) is for students with a passion for the life sciences and research who want to prepare for employment in their field or for graduate/professional training. CMB is focused on determining how cells develop and function and the significance of those functions in the living organism. This interdisciplinary study draws on diverse fields such as biochemistry, biophysics, genetics and developmental biology and is the basis for many applied fields including biotechnology, pharmacology, and biomedicine. The Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology at Grand Valley prepares students for employment or graduate training in the critically important and dynamic fields of cell and molecular biology, biotechnology and biomedical research.

A unique and critical part of Grand Valley’s CMB degree is the student’s participation in independent research/internship. Each student will have a research mentor from CMB or another participating GVSU department or from an area business or research institute, ensuring that students will get practical experience conducting original research in their area of interest. Research experience, in addition to the demanding curriculum, can be critical assets for success in the workforce or graduate programs after graduation.

CMB department is in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Experience

The pandemic has provided rich materials for our courses and our faculty incorporated COVID-19 as a real-time learning experience 

CMB 155  Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology

Students analyzed the nucleotide sequences of RNA viruses (like SARS-CoV-2 and the flu) to discover how mutations can change their severity.

“Pandemic Pandomonium!” where students compared different viruses, and evaluated different potential anti-viral drugs.

Quote from our students “I loved this!  Enjoyed how much new information I had learned about the virus throughout my research and I learned more about other infections as well.  I told my parents about everything I had learned about the virus and they loved the assignment idea too!  Thank you”

CMB 140 Living Foods: Ferment them yourselves!

We discussed the coronavirus structure & what it means to ‘flatten the curve’ in order to understand public health guidance during the pandemic.

CMB 150 - Biotechnology & Society

We discussed various examples of RNA viruses. Students were particularly interested in differences between flu viruses and coronaviruses. We also talked about evolution of zoonotic viruses, incubation period, and asymptomatic patients.

CMB 250 Intro to Biotechnology

What is antibody testing? How accurate is it? Students got to learn about detecting antibody through ELISA and identifying steps in the method that could lead to a false-positive or negative. We also got to learn about vaccines in clinical trials.

Students also presented on topics related to COVID-19. Including a survey of previous and current pandemics with a focus on how to defend against their use as a potential bioweapon and one specifically on COVID-19- genome, life cycle and targets for a vaccine.

CMB 321 Designing Our Future: Babies, Food, Medicine & Biotechnology 

Students discuss the various ways vaccines are made, and how they prime our immune system to a pathogen. We also talk about herd immunity and risk analysis related to disease and vaccines.

CMB 626/ 426 Advanced Research Applications in Nucleic Acids

"Testing! Testing! Testing!" students got to learn how to do the RT-PCR test that everyone is talking about in the media. 

CMB 405 Cell & Molecular Biology

Students learned how current research on SARS-CoV-2 genetic materials and cellular functions can be applied to the development of vaccination and treatment for COVID-19.

We also discussed the mechanism(s) of how the coronavirus attacks our cells and on-going clinical trials including how Moderna is using mRNA-1273 to develop a RNA vaccine.

CMB 406 Cell & Molecular Biology Lab

Students studied cAMP pathway in depth and we discussed the role of cAMP and PKA in T cell activation and differentiation and how it related to our immune response.

CMB 411 Genetics of Development and Cancer

Students get to study the RNA virus genome, discussed vaccines and tumor virology in depth.  

CMB460/ 560 Genomics & Molecular Diagnostics

Students will learn about the emerging COVID-19 diagnostics tools and their concepts (e.g. antibody tests, real-time PCR, next-generation sequencing), how to access COVID-19 genomic resources, and develop their own diagnostic strategies to best detect the coronavirus.

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Science 
Cell & Molecular Biology 

Master of Science 
Research Thesis Based Master's in Cell & Molecular Biology 

Master of Science 
Internship Based Professional Master's in Biotechnology 

Bachelor & Master of Science 
Cell and Molecular Biology/ Internship Based
Professional Master's in Biotechnology

Bachelor of Science 
Cell & Molecular Biology 

Master of Science 
Research Thesis Based Master's in Cell & Molecular Biology 

Master of Science 
Internship Based Professional Master's in Biotechnology 

Bachelor & Master of Science 
Cell and Molecular Biology/ Internship Based
Professional Master's in Biotechnology

Program Strength

Interdisciplinary Training 
More than 20 faculty mentors in 4 different departments and diverse research areas. 

Personalized Program 
Emphasis on research &coursework that is tailored to each student’s professional objectives.

Mentorship
Independent research required either with a research mentor faculty or an internship elsewhere.

Reputation
Excellent track record in preparing students for graduate school and employment.

How are our CMB students doing?
Based on the ETS Major Fields Test in Biology, the CMB program at GVSU ranks higher than 90% of the 345 departments nationwide whose students (more than 7000) participated in this exam.

Year

18

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

10

09

Biochemistry & Cell Energetics

97%

99%

98%

98%

98%

92%

95%

98%

95%

95%

Cellular Structure Organization & Function

94%

94%

99%

98%

99%

88%

99%

98%

95%

95%

Molecular Biology & Molecular Genetics

99%

99%

99%

99%

99%

97%

95%

70%

95%

95%

Analytical Skills

87%

90%

97%

91%

96%

82%

95%

85%

95%

80%

Learn about our new courses

CMB 155/156 Discoveries in Cell and Molecular Biology

Watch the promotion video about  CMB 156 Discoveries in Cell and Molecular Biology

Video acknowledgement: Mattie Kropf Brechbiel 

CMB180 Living Foods

Students share about the experience of taking CMB180.

Watch the promotion video about  CMB140 Living Foods: Ferment them yourselves!

Gen Ed course with a lab, offered in the winter

Video acknowledgement: Mattie Kropf Brechbiel 

For information, please email Dr. Dietrich, dietrima@gvsu.edu

Sign up Now 


computation

Biotechnology Through the Artist's Lens

Check out these interesting artworks and sign up for CMB150!

For several years now, students in Biotechnology and Society course CMB 150 have created art in response to the course material. Come see more than 20 works exploring a wide range of topics from cell biology, through genome editing, to search for new therapies and cures. Through art, the students illustrate the connection between biotechnology and our daily lives. These artworks are being displayed at the Mary Idema Pew Library.

  • CMB150 is a Gen Ed course with a lab, specifically designed for non-science majors.

Contact Us

Dr. Mark Staves 
cmb@gvsu.edu
(616) 331-2315

Department Office

3300A P. Douglas Kindschi Hall of Science
Allendale, MI 49401



Page last modified May 11, 2020