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Specific Research Areas

Rockefeller University scientists conduct investigations in many broad, intersecting areas. Some encompass fields—such as cell biology and protein chemistry—that were pioneered at Rockefeller. Others, for example, genomics and stem cell biology, represent newer fields. Following are the research areas under investigation at Rockefeller.

Chemical and Structural Biology—Chemistry, broadly defined, applied to understanding biological processes; structural biology; biophysics

Genetics and Genomics—Studies of animals, plants, unicellular organisms, and communities of organisms

Immunology, Virology, and Microbiology—Cellular and molecular immunology, cellular microbiology, microbial physiology and pathogenesis, parasitology, virology, tumor immunology, and vaccine development

Medical Sciences, Systems Physiology, and Human Genetics—Normal physiology, mechanisms of disease, novel therapeutics, and preventive interventions

Molecular Cell Biology—Gene regulation, protein translation and modification, intracellular transport, cell cycle and chromosome biology, organelle function, signal transduction and enzymology, and cancer

Neurosciences and Behavior—Molecular and cellular neuroscience, neurological disorders, neurophysiology, and systems neuroscience

Organismal Biology and Evolution—Vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant physiology; studies of animal behavior in natural environments; population biology

Physical, Mathematical, and Computational Biology—Experimental physics, bioinformatics, computational neuroscience, systems and quantitative biology, networks, and synthetic systems

Stem Cells, Development, Regeneration, and Aging—Development and morphogenesis, embryonic and adult stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and aging


Rockefeller scientists tackle many of today’s most intractable health problems. Their work offers fundamental insights into the mechanisms of health and disease, while opening avenues toward more effective therapies and preventive measures.

Following are some of the health conditions currently under study at the University.

Addiction Disorders—Alcoholism, cocaine addiction, heroin addiction, nicotine addiction

Age-Related Disorders—Neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS; vision and hearing disorders

Blood Disorders—Thrombosis in heart attack and stroke, sickle cell anemia

Cancer—Breast, colon, liver, lung, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer; brain tumors; melanoma; leukemia and lymphoma; design of immunotherapies, chemotherapies, and cancer vaccines

Childhood Diseases—Autism, pediatric cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders, sudden infant death syndrome, strep and other bacterial infections, attention deficit disorder, type 1 diabetes, Fanconi anemia, cystic fibrosis

Digestive System Disorders—Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, colitis, colon cancer, hepatitis

Diseases of the Developing World—Malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, Chagas’ disease, African trypanosomiasis

Heart/Cardiovascular Disease—Heart disease, stroke, thrombosis, effects of diet and other environmental factors

Immune-Related Disorders—Allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammation, cancer immunology

Infectious Diseases—Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, influenza, yellow fever, Zika, hereditary immunodeficiencies

Learning and Memory—Neural processes responsible for learning and memory; mechanisms of brain repair

Metabolic Diseases—Obesity/nutrition/weight loss, kidney diseases, metabolic syndrome (heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure), atherosclerosis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Neurological Disease —Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, sleep disorders, disorders of face recognition

Psychiatric and Behavioral Conditions —Depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, stress and anxiety disorders, attention deficit disorder

Sensory Mechanisms—Macular degeneration and other vision disorders; hearing loss and balance disorders; olfaction

Skin Diseases—Psoriasis, non-healing wounds, melanoma and other skin cancers, atopic dermatitis

Women’s Health Concerns—Estrogen and menopause; breast and ovarian cancer; effects of tamoxifen; lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune conditions; osteoporosis