Department Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan, 2009

In the next decade, the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics (CBMG) will build on our current strengths to generate high-impact, transformative discoveries in gene expression, signal transduction, microbial pathogenesis and complex networks at the whole cell or systems level.  The strategic recruitment of new faculty, the improvement of core facilities, the expansion of existing programs, and the development of new high impact research clusters will position the Department to achieve national and international research prominence in the coming decade.  CBMG will continue to take the most modern approaches and apply state-of-the-art technologies to the study of cell and molecular biology, with the goal of improving human life.  In addition to building on existing strengths in host-pathogen interactions and functional genomics, new areas within cell and molecular biology that will be targeted for expansion will include signal transduction at the single cell and systems levels and the regulation of gene expression.  One of the strategic approaches to be taken is to expand our collaborations across the campus, to take advantage of bioengineering and bioinformatics, and across the state, to take advantage of the federal laboratories and biotechnology companies located in close proximity to the University.

Important new research leading to innovations in biomedicine, bioenergy and nutrition, that positively impact the global environment and enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. economy will emerge from this new plan.  .

The mission of the Department’s graduate training is to build upon our strengths in providing an outstanding and enriching environment for training independent scientists for successful research-based careers in academia, education, industry, and government.  Specifically, this includes continuing to obtain training grants, increased support of students on RAs, recruitment of outstanding applicants including underrepresented minorities, improving course content and standards within BISI, and fostering an interactive research community.  Through these measures, CBMG will continue to produce graduates that are equipped to meet the critical needs of society, and who will also direct and shape the future of science. 

The Department will offer an engaging and academically rigorous undergraduate program that addresses the national need for professionally trained scientists and scientifically literate citizens, serving as a model for undergraduate education at a research university.  Faculty will take active roles in using their research to shape undergraduate education and making real-life research experiences available to our majors.  The Department will strive to ensure that our students experience education in cell biology and molecular genetics that is among the best in the nation.  This will be accomplished by providing increased opportunities for undergraduate research, by developing faculty interest groups to improve and integrate course content, and by increasing expectations for student learning.

In summary, CBMG strives to improve its research capabilities and infrastructure, enhance graduate and undergraduate education, and establish itself among the premier departments in the country.

Short term goals: 

The short-term goals are to expand the department’s research capabilities by the addition of strategic new faculty, and by the development of collaborations with other departments and centers across the campus through joint hires.  Some specific examples of this are:

  1. Expand our research capabilities in cell biology and signal transduction by hiring faculty that will initiate a research program of national significance and integrate with existing CBMG faculty.

  2. Expand our research capabilities in molecular biology and gene expression by hiring faculty that will initiate a research program of national significance and integrate with existing CBMG faculty.

  3. Build on existing strengths in functional genomics by pursuing joint hires with the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (CBCB), and by establishing collaborations with the Institute for Genomic Sciences (IGS) at UMB and with federal agencies, such as NIST.

  4. Build on our existing strengths in Host-Pathogen Interactions by pursuing joint hires with other departments (e.g. vector biology with Entomology) or Schools (e.g. infectious diseases with the School of Public health).  This area can also be strengthened through collaborations with biotechnology companies, federal agencies, and other research institutions.  

  5. Improve the number and quality of graduate students coming into the Department by adding at least one additional training grant to support graduate education and research. Improve graduate education by revising the curriculum to include an emphasis on research-centered instruction and team taught classes.  

  6. Improve the undergraduate training program by continuing to have faculty actively involved in the design and implementation of the curriculum, and by encouraging faculty research groups to continue to publish in top tier education journals.

Long term goals: 

  1. Build a research cluster in cell biology with an emphasis on signal transduction at the single cell and systems levels.

  2. Build a research cluster in molecular biology with an emphasis on the regulation of gene expression.

  3. Continue to enhance pathogen research and functional genomics through joint hires, expanded collaborations, and innovative interactions with outside institutions and agencies.

  4. Improve the research infrastructure by expanding the core facilities, with support from the administration and made possible by a doubling of the grant funding coming into the department.

  5. Make CBMG a national model for undergraduate education in the life sciences, by continuing to support the development of innovative methods for teaching science to undergraduate majors.