Jovanka Voyich, Ph.D, Professor
Welcome to the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology
In 2019 our department merged with the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience
and we have officially changed our name to reflect the growing diversity of educational
and research opportunities we offer. The merged department houses numerous degree
options that prepare students to enter many exciting and emerging fields of research
and service. Students can choose from several areas of study that form the foundations
and basic level of understanding to solve a variety of problems faced by modern society
including human physical and mental health, environmental health, alternative energy,
and climate change. Specifically, our faculty are world renowned for their scientific
expertise in biomedical research including molecular and systems neuroscience, infectious
diseases, immunology, host/pathogen interactions, disease ecology, cell and developmental
biology, microbiome, cellular signaling, and pathogen biology. Our faculty are also
internationally recognized as leaders in a range of environmental microbiology research
areas, including microbial ecology, biofilm biology, geomicrobiology, astrobiology,
bioremediation, and biofuels.
The department leverages this diversity to provide broad, interdisciplinary curricula
to both undergraduate and graduate students. Our undergraduate students consistently
receive major awards including Goldwater, Udall, Truman, Fulbright, Rhodes and National
Science Foundation fellowships. Our undergraduate curricula can prepare students for
either immediate job placement or pursuit of advanced basic science or health professional
degrees. Our graduate students successfully compete for National Institutes of Health
(NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation
(NSF), American Heart Association, and Fulbright fellowships. Our doctoral students
routinely go on to prestigious postdoctoral fellowships (e.g. Harvard, Stanford, NIH,
Johns Hopkins, University of Washington and UC Berkeley) or obtain highly sought-after
The Microbiology major has six main undergraduate tracks: Microbiology Pre-Med, Environmental
Health, Environmental Microbiology, Biotechnology, and Medical Lab Science. We also
offer Microbiology and Genetics minors to enhance other majors; the Microbiology minor
is often combined with a degree in Biochemistry. The Cell Biology and Neuroscience
major has two tracks, Biomedical Sciences and Cell Biology and Neuroscience, and offers
minors in both Genetics and Global Health. We are the primary department at MSU for
pre-medical and pre-veterinary training. As such, we provide advising for all MSU
Pre-Veterinary students and offer a Certificate in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. The department
is home to the Montana Medical Laboratory Science Professional Program, and our faculty participate in both the WWAMI Medical Education Program and the WIMU Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine. The department contributes significantly to MSU’s Centers for Biofilm Engineering and Mental Health Research and Recovery.
As a research-intensive department, we offer graduate and undergraduate students the
opportunity to experience research under the mentorship of world-renowned scientists.
Our faculty are externally funded by NIH, NASA, NSF, United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DoE), and Montana Agricultural
Experimentation Station (MAES) as well as by prestigious private foundations, including
the W.M. Keck and Murdock Foundations. Students doing research in our department have
access to state-of-the-art facilities for biochemistry, flow cytometry, genomics,
proteomics, cell biology, microbiology, and (meta)genomics/bioinformatics.
If you are an existing or future undergraduate or graduate student interested in our
research, please reach-out to one of our academic advisors for help in finding professors
with available positions. For information to do so, please contact [email protected].
We welcome you to explore all that our department has to offer, and we are excited
you have demonstrated interest in us. Please don't hesitate to contact us.