The Department of Molecular Biology is an integral part of the MGH Research Institute. Our investigators hold appointments at Harvard Medical School. The majority of our investigators hold appointments in the Department of Genetics (others are appointed in the Departments of Medicine, Systems Biology, and Neurobiology). Our dedicated community of 250 scientists, staff, and administrators support a common scientific mission to advance knowledge and improve human health. Our labs are premier training environments for graduate students and fellows, launching impactful careers in academia, government and industry. We welcome new trainees to join us at the frontiers of fundamental and translational science.
We are centrally located in Boston, on the main campus of MGH, near Beacon Hill. We are accessible by the MBTA Red, Blue, Green, and Orange lines. We’re a short distance from Harvard’s Longwood and Cambridge campuses, as well as MIT. Many of us travel regularly between these locations to attend talks and visit collaborators. Explore our seminars and events to learn more about us.
In 1982, Howard Goodman, the founding Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology, struck a first-of-its-kind agreement with the pharmaceutical company Hoechst AG, to fund the establishment of the Department of Molecular Biology at MGH. Howard’s arrangement was unique in several ways, including the relationship he established with the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, led at the time by Phillip Leder. To this day, we enjoy a close relationship with HMS, and especially with HMS Genetics. We also have strong ties with the HMS Departments of Neurobiology and Systems Biology, and the Broad Institute. With Hoecht’s financial support, Howard was able to recruit Fred Ausubel, Joe Avruch, Josh Kaplan, Bob Kingston, Jeannie Lee, David Moore, Margie Oettinger, Gary Ruvkun, Brian Seed, Jen Sheen, and Jack Szostak. These investigators built vibrant laboratories and catapulted the Department to scientific prominence. Under Howard’s leadership and that of his successor as Chair, Bob Kingston, the Department has flourished and grown to its current group of 16 Principal Investigators.
Molbio intermittently hosts one or more Junior Fellows for a short period (typically 3-5 years) before they move on to establish their own laboratories. Historically, this has proven to be an amazing launching pad for outstanding early-career scientists who go on to enjoy notable success as independent PIs. Michael Fishbach, Jen Sheen, Cliff Tabin, and Ting Wu are among our alumni of Junior Fellows.