Anatomy and Cell Biology: Philosophy

The Division of Anatomy and Cell Biology offers study both at the master's (MS) and doctoral (PhD) levels. The master's degree requires a thesis on a laboratory-based research project. The programs are intended for students interested in research and in acquisition of strong foundations in functional human anatomy and tissue biology. The principal, although not exclusive, focus of research in the department is on the biology of skeletal disease, repair and regeneration. This work is founded in strong interdisciplinary alliances associated with the Rush Arthritis and Orthopedics Institute. This consortium includes the Department of Biochemistry with its focus on cartilage and connective tissue research, the Department of Orthopedic Surgery which sponsors research on surgical and therapeutic interventions and supports Rush's gait and biomechanics laboratory, and the Section of Rheumatology that hosts ongoing studies on arthritis and inflammatory connective tissue disease.

The scope of this work with its underlying orientation to skeletal and joint disease provides an excellent forum for graduate study. A premium is placed on critical thinking and communication skills that can help students translate new ideas into effective research questions and lines of investigation. These skills are central to the production of effective grants and publications and to their future roles as scientists and educators. Exploration of structure-function relationships is an exploding frontier for the contemporary anatomist in the medical research setting. Anatomists, as most scientists, are reinventing themselves and their fields in the study of basic disease processes. Extraordinary capabilities of new imaging technology and partnerships with other scientists put structural biologists into the mainstream of mapping molecular processes into three-dimensional space of cells, tissues and organs. This collaborative environment, both in education and research, is a great source of intellectual and personal enrichment.