Jan 17, 2022  
2018-2019 University Catalog 
2018-2019 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Cell Biology and Biotechnology – Master of Science (Thesis)

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Each MS (thesis) option student completes a minimum of 20 credits of didactic courses and 10 credits of research. The MS thesis option is a research-focused degree in which the student completes a research project under the mentorship of one of the program faculty members and defends that thesis to the program faculty. The objectives of the MS thesis option program are to provide opportunities for each student to:

  • Develop skill and knowledge in the fields of cell biology, biotechnology, molecular biology, and related disciplines of bioinformatics, developmental biology, microbiology, or biophysics.
  • Initiate, conduct and complete a research project that makes use of the knowledge and skills relevant to the program.
  • Demonstrate an improving set of oral and written presentation skills for communication of research results.
  • Develop competence in acquisition and interpretation of the scientific literature relevant to the program disciplines.


Courses from other programs may be elected with permission of the program director; it is the responsibility of the student to fulfill course prerequisites. MS students must complete at least 3 credits at the 800 level. Program electives include:

In addition to the program core outlined above, these students will complete the following:


Required at the discretion of the program director.

Faculty – Graduate Biological Sciences Programs

Shivendra Sahi 
BS (Gorakhpur University, India); PhD (North Carolina State University)
Professor of Biology
Chair, Biological Sciences  
Phone: 215.596.7417
E-mail: s.sahi@usciences.edu      
Research: focuses on understanding uptake and transport mechanisms of excess phosphorus and heavy metals in plants and developing remediation strategies against thee pollutants  

Ara DerMarderosian
BS, MS (Massachusetts College of Pharmacy); PhD (University of Rhode Island)
Professor Emeritus of Pharmacognosy
Research Professor Emeritus of Medicinal Chemistry
Phone: 215.596.8915
E-mail: a.dermar@usciences.edu

Grace Farber
BS (Rider University); PhD (University of Pittsburgh) 
Assistant Professor of Biology
Director, General Education  
Co-director, Neuroscience Program 
Phone: 267.295.3157
E-mail: g.farber@usciencs.edu 
Research: scholarship of teaching and learning 

Matthew J. Farber 
BS (Seton Hall University); PhD (University of Pittsburgh) 
Assistant Professor of Biology
Director, Brewing Science Program
Phone: 215.596.7452
E-mail: m.farber@usciences.edu    
Research: applications of microbiology and biotechnology in brewing science  

Jason Heindl
BA (Amherst College), PhD (Harvard University)
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
E-mail: j.heindl@usciences.edu
Research: Agrobacterium tumefaciens

Christopher Janetopoulos
BS (Augustana College); PhD (Texas A & M University)
Associate Professor of Biology
Phone: 215.895.3118
E-mail: c.janetopoulos@usciences.edu
Research: The establishment and maintenance of  polarity during migration and  cell division. Techniques: Molecular biology, biochemistry, high-end fluorescence microscopy and advanced microfluidic techniques in single and multi-cellular organisms.

Margaret R. Kasschau
BA (University of Rochester); MS, PhD (University of South Carolina)
Professor Emeritus of Biology
E-mail: m.kassch@usciences.edu

Zachary Klase
BS (Rutgers University); PhD (George Washington University)
Assistant Professor of Biology
E-mail: z.klase@usciences.edu
Phone: 215.596.8521
Research: human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) pathogenesis; control of viral transcription, interaction with the human immune system and the effect of RNA interference on viral replication.

Zhijun Li
BS, MS (Tsinghua University, China); PhD (Vanderbilt University)
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Director, Graduate Program in Bioinformatics
Phone: 215.596.7539
E-mail: z.li@usciences.edu
Research: Research: focuses on generation and analysis of 3D structures and proteins using computational and bioinformatics tools. His group relies on a broad range of techniques to tackle complex biological problems in multiple dimensions.

Suzanne K. Murphy
BA (Rosemont College); PhD (Hahnemann University) 
Professor of Biology
Dean, Misher College of Arts and Sciences
Director, Pre-Health Professions Programs

Phone: 215.596.8921
E-mail: s.murphy@usciences.edu
Research: analysis of expression of the ras oncogene; perturbations in signal transduction pathways and expression of heat shock proteins

Kenneth Myers
BS (Philadelphia University); PhD (Drexel University)
Associate Professor of Biology
Co-Director, Cell Biology and Biotechnology Graduate Programs
Phone: 215.596.7531
E-mail: k.myers@usciences.edu
Research: microtube dynamics of endothelial cells in branching and directed motility; interactions with the extracellular matrix; high-resolution light and fluorescence microscopy 

Dana Pape-Zambito
BA (University of Delaware); PhD (Pennsylvania State University)
Associate Professor of Biology
Phone: 267.295.3173
E-mail: d.zambito@usciences.edu
Research: breast cancer initiation and progression; mammary gland development and lactation; influence of endocrine disrupter hormones

Margaret Pearce
BS (Le Moyne College), PhD (SUNY Upstate Medical University)
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
E-mail: m.pearce@usciences.edu
Research: neuroscience

Bela Peethambaran
BTech (St. Xavier’s College, India); MS (Gujarat University, India); PhD (Mississippi State University)
Associate Professor of Biology
Co-Director, Cell Biology and Biotechnology Graduate Programs  
Phone: 215.596.8923
E-mail: b.peethambaran@usciences.edu
Research: plant metabolic engineering for antioxidant and bioactive compound production; manipulation of plant signaling pathways to enhance stress responses; anti-cancer activities of plant extracts 

C. Nicole Sunnen
BS (University of Guelph, Canada); PhD (Baylor College of Medicine)
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Phone: 215.596.7420
E-mail: c.sunnen@usciences.edu
Research: molecular mechanisms of neurodevelopment and disease; epilepsy; STEM education


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