Development and Disease


The Development and Disease Cluster brings together faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students with interests in revealing the molecular bases of both normal and abnormal cell and tissue biology. We have focus areas in cancer, microbial pathogenesis, neuroscience, development and stem cells, plant biology and bioenergetics. Experimental approaches in physiology, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics and advanced cell imaging are interleaved throughout these major focus areas. Many model systems inform our research endeavors: mice and other mammals, zebrafish, avian embryos, Drosophila, Aplysia, yeast, Arabodopsis, maize and a variety of bacterial and viral pathogens.

The group has a strong commitment to enhancing the educational experience of our students in the classroom and the laboratory. We offer a host of graduate courses to prepare students to tackle thesis research projects in many aspects of modern biomedical or plant sciences. We encourage our students to broaden their coursework to other departmental focus areas such as bioinformatics, structural biology and biophysics, organismal biology, behavior, evolutionary biology or bioremediation, as needed. Many undergraduates are active and important participants in our research programs; we take pride in sending them onward to pursue advanced degrees in science and medicine.

Our research activities and collaborative interactions span well beyond the department to involve colleagues in the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, the College of Engineering--particularly biomedical engineering, the College of Agriculture, and PHASE (Purdue Hearing & Acoustics in Science and Engineering. There are many examples of more informal university-wide groups that regularly meet for research talks, such as the Breast Cancer Discovery Group, the Purdue Cytoskeleton Group, the Cell Growth and Differentiation Group and a Zebrafish Research Group. Major extramural funding for our research is provided by the NIH, the NSF, the USDA and numerous private foundations.