With each passing year, more undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) are choosing to pursue professions in the biotech industry, and MCB’s research has increasingly found its way into clinical applications. In response to these trends, in July 2023 the department will launch a new division, Molecular Therapeutics (MTx), to better prepare students for careers in biotechnology and to support Berkeley’s science with the potential to develop new therapeutic modalities.
MTx will build on a strong tradition of research that has led to the development of new therapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors in immuno-oncology or the revolution in gene-editing therapies sparked by the more recent CRISPR discoveries. The new division is also grounded in improvements in Berkeley’s infrastructure, such as the Innovative Genomics Institute and the UC Berkeley Drug Discovery Center, and will profit from the experience of faculty members that have joined MCB with the explicit goal of exploiting fundamental discoveries in their labs into new therapeutic applications.
Following a call for faculty that self-identified their interest in pursuing new therapeutic modalities, 16 faculty members have signed on to the new division — including neurobiologists, immunologists, structural biologists, chemists, and others. “We have a community of very strong mechanistic biologists who love to discover how nature works, but also want to translate their groundbreaking discoveries into innovations that help treat disease,” says Michael Rapé, the new division’s head. With faculty members from many different areas of biology, “MTx will be a truly interdisciplinary community brought together by the goal of moving basic science toward clinical applications.”
Continue reading about Molecular Therapeutics, our new research division in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, below.