Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology: Research Topics


Microbiology includes the study of a huge variety of microscopic organisms that come from all three domains of life, Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukaryota, and the viruses.

Microorganisms and viruses are found everywhere on Earth and play important roles in the environment, in the health of plants and animals, including humans, and in biotechnology. Several faculty members in the Section of Molecular Biology have research interests related to microbiology and they study a range of topics including: the bacterial cytoskeleton and chromosome partitioning; mechanisms of biological clocks and circadian gene regulation; bacterial development, communication and signaling; microbial genomics and metagenomics; quantitative and systems biology; evolution of bacterial membrane transporters; genetics and regulation of microalgae; interactions between microbial pathogens and hosts; and molecular structures of viruses. Several faculty members actively participate in the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology and have research projects related to the use of algae for the production of bioproducts and biofuels. Microbiology has a close relationship to immunology, another strength within the Section of Molecular Biology. Molecular Biology faculty members also use microorganisms as model organisms to study fundamental properties common to all life. For example, several faculty members use bacteria and yeast as model systems to study topics including signal transduction pathways, mechanisms of RNA splicing, chromatin dynamics, gene regulation and gene networks, and synthetic genetic circuits.