Development, Differentiation and Disease (D3)

Scientific Scope

The Development, Differentiation and Disease (D3) Hub offers research and training in the mechanisms of cell signaling and development, and how the misregulation of these normal mechanisms leads to a wide variety of diseases. Using a range of model systems, hub-affiliated faculty explore processes that are crucial for the formation and function of tissues, organs, and organisms. Areas of interest include the mechanisms that control cell proliferation and migration; the temporal and spatial regulation of gene expression in cells and organisms; biosynthesis, assembly and function of cellular components; intracellular trafficking and signal transduction; and neurogenesis and neuronal development. Faculty also seek to understand how the misregulation of these normal mechanisms can lead to the onset, progression, and dissemination of a range of important diseases that affect human health, with the long-term goal of identifying new opportunities for therapeutic treatments. Current areas of expertise among the faculty include the molecular mechanisms of homeostasis and metabolic disorders; mechanisms of cellular differentiation and oncogenesis; basic and applied research on musculoskeletal development and repair; and developmental neuroscience, coupled with cellular and molecular mechanisms neurological disorders. 

Focus Groups

  • Cell Signaling in Development and Disease (CSDD)
  • Developmental Neuroscience and Neurological Disease (DNND)


In addition to the PBMS core curriculum, students who join the Development, Differentiation and Disease (D3) hub will be encouraged to take the following core course(s) and 3 credits of electives based on the student's individual training plan/research interests. Additionally, students will participate in their hubs seminar series, journal club(s) / grand rounds, and annual retreat / symposia. 



  • Development, Differentiation and Disease


  • Tissue Biology
  • Advanced Topics in Developmental Neuroscience
  • Mechanisms of Development
  • Topical Nano courses (0.5 cr) featuring targeted deep dives into current topics.
    • Previous offerings include: 
      • Novel 3D Cell Culture Platforms for Studying Cellular Biology and Disease Mechanisms
      • CRISPR-Cas9 System
      • Biology and Pathology of Extracellular Vesicles
      • A Hands-On Introduction to RNAseq
      • Secret Life of Noncoding RNAs
      • Introduction to Single-Cells ‘Omics’ Data Analysis
      • New Methods for Live-Cell Imaging in Embryos and Organs
      • Metabolomic Strategies to Investigate Normal and Abnormal Development

Seminar Series

  • Basic and Translational Seminar Series

Journal Club(s)

  • Cell and Developmental Biology

Annual Meeting(s) and Symposia(s)

  • Annual Combined Graduate Retreat

Philip Copenhaver, Ph.D. - Hub Director


Phone: 503-494-4646