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Cellular Biology & Pharmacology

The Department of Cellular Biology and Pharmacology was formally established in fall 2009 as part of the new Florida International University (FIU) College of Medicine (COM). It represents the common intellectual denominator of what historically would have been called pre-clinical (Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology and Physiology) disciplines.

Vision & Mission

Vision; To be a nationally and internationally renowned department recognized for teaching and research in the context of a medical school.

Mission; To provide a dynamic and engaging environment in which to pursue a vigorous graduate education. The combination of diverse research backgrounds and an open environment should promote scientific exchange and lead to fruitful collaborations opening up new avenues of research and foster excellence in medical education.

The mission will be accomplished by:

  • Constructing an encouraging environment that drives excellence
  • Employing and preserving researchers engaged in extremely competitive research
  • Promoting value for individuality as well as diversity
  • Expanding and granting access to state-of-the-art core facilities
  • Supporting local, national and international collaborative projects
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary research
  • Guiding faculty members towards academic excellence
  • Developing a multidisciplinary graduate program
  • Ensuring thorough schooling for our graduates

Message from the Interim Chair

Welcome to the Department of Cellular Biology and Pharmacology at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Our department is dedicated to promoting excellence in research and medical education. We are proud to have a diverse faculty with master medical educators and well-funded basic science researchers.

Since its inception over a decade ago, our primary educational focus continues to create a high-quality, evidence-based, and innovative model for our students who will practice and lead in 21st-century healthcare. The Department serves a broad range of learners including medical, physician assistant and graduate and post-baccalaureate students. Our faculty bring experience and novel pedagogy to the classroom to promote the development of intellectual rigor, critical thinking, and innovative problem-solving. Teaching is done using multiple pedagogies including interactive didactic lectures, small group and large group case-based learning (CBL), team-based learning (TBL), problem-based learning (PBL), flipped classroom, and simulations.

The basic science research focus of the department is to understand how life has adapted to the pervasive presence of the toxic metalloid arsenic in the environment. Through identification of arsenic detoxification genes and characterization of their gene products at the biochemical and structural level in the various forms of life from bacteria to human, researchers in our department have made and continue to make significant contributions to science which have led to new directions and paradigms in the field of arsenic biology and environmental toxicology. Discoveries fuel additional research, both basic and applied, including the development of commercial arsenic biosensors, methods for arsenic bioremediation and discovery of new arsenic-containing antibiotics.

Our faculty members are strongly committed to lifelong learning, personal and professional development, mentorship and scholarly work. With the support shown by senior leadership, the high standards of our exceptional teaching and research faculty, we will continue to provide a unique environment for collaboration and growth in medical education and basic science and translational research. I am honored and privileged to serve as Interim Chair of the department.

Gagani Athauda, MD
Interim Chair and Associate Professor

Newsletter Archive

The goal is to keep the Department connected by providing insight into the efforts of our colleagues and highlight recent events and news. The newsletter will be produced twice per year.

Guest Speaker Archive

Community-Based Faculty

Helmut H. Albrecht, MD
Associate Professor
Monica Arroyo, MD
Assistant Professor
Nikita Bodoukhin, MD
Ferenc Darvas, PhD
Associate Professor
Rudi Ettrich, PhD
Adjunct Professor
Warren G. Foster, PhD
Andres Jimenez Gomez, MD
Assistant Professor


Dietrich Lorke, MD, PhD
Adjunct Professor
Nicholas Mendez, MD
Kamil Musilek, PhD
Adjunct Professor
Bridget Norwood, MD
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ana Pena, MD
Georg Petroianu, MD, PhD
Golsheed Zeiarati