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The department emphasizes hands-on laboratory experience and independent research as a part of the undergraduate training. All students are required to complete three biology laboratory courses for the major, as well as the laboratories accompanying general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Our students develop a sense of feeling at home in the laboratory and thus have the confidence to enter any laboratory setting in the future; every student has, on average, one laboratory course each semester.
Highly motivated students seek additional research experience and enhance their training by engaging in independent research in the laboratories of the faculty. Typically, 15 percent of CELL majors are involved in independent research in this department each semester. In addition, some majors perform research at the Tulane Health Sciences Center. Outstanding students may earn departmental honors and complete an Honors Thesis as a result of their investigations. Frequently, the research findings are published in the literature of the field and students are listed as co-authors; see our list of undergraduate student publications.
The student research is generally limited to those areas of investigation in which the Cell and Molecular Biology faculty have both interest and expertise. Thus the student should become familiar with the faculty research as the first step toward participation; see our list of faculty research. In general the student has opportunities in Developmental Biology (pattern formation, organogenesis, cell-cell signaling, and gene expression regulation), Cellular Neuroscience (neurophysiology, neuroendocrinology, molecular neuroscience and developmental neuroscience) and Environmental Biology (microbiology, carcinogenesis and bioremediation). As a next step, the student then makes inquiry with selected faculty concerning possible opportunities, specific projects and the commitments and responsibilities of the student, if accepted into the laboratory. Most faculty expect a commitment of 8 to 12 hours per week for a period of at least 2 semesters; some prefer a two-year commitment and most require two years for those expecting to present an Honors Thesis.
Research opportunities for undergraduates majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology are also available in laboratories at the Tulane Health Sciences Center. Transportation between the uptown campus and the medical school is provided by the Tulane Shuttle Bus system.
Please see our FAQs for more information about registration for independent research.
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