UCB Libraries

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III. Policies: MCDB

  • Subject name: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
  • Subject abbreviations: MCDB
  • Bibliographer: Barbara Losoff
  • Other subject responsibilities: Chemistry; Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences; Integrative Physiology.
  • Address: 184 UCB, Science Library
  • Phone: 303-492-1859
  • Email: Barbara.Losoff@colorado.edu

I. Purpose:
The department of MCDB teaches the student the biological sciences in general and emphasizes the detailed understanding of currently important aspects of cellular biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and developmental biology. Graduate students pursue original research and work in at least three different faculty laboratories.

A. Curricular Emphasis:
Areas of biological inquiry are reviewed in their relationship to broader areas of science and to society in general, including ethical issues raised by current biological research and by the rapid growth of biotechnology. Students who complete a degree in MCDB are expected to possess abilities and skills in laboratory procedures. The student must be able to communicate scientific language and concepts, present analytical arguments clearly and concisely, and judge the quality of peer-reviewed literature. A major in MCDB must include some hands-on experience with living organisms.


B. Research Emphasis:


Molecular Biology:
Gene Regulation, Virology, Nucleic Acid-protein Interactions, Chromosome Structure and Function, Chromosome Replication, Microbial Diversity, Human Genome Structure, RNA Structure and Catalysis.


Cell Biology:
Cytoskeleton, Biophysical Cytology, Vacuole Assembly, Centrosome, Synthesis and Secretion of Glycoproteins and Polysaccarides, Defense Responses in Plants with 3-D high Resolution Reconstruction, Biogenesis of Mitochondria and Chloroplasts, Energy Metabolism, Assembly of Membrane Protein Complexes, Cell Cycle Regulation and Checkpoints, and Signal Transduction.


Developmental Biology:
Mechanisms and Regulation of Morphogenesis and Cell Growth, Genetic Control of Development, Molecular Genetics of embryogenesis, Sex Determination, Ras Proteins and Vulval Development, Programmed Cell Death in Nematodes, Molecular Genetics of Drosophila Neurobiology, Developmental Genetics of Drosophila and Caenorhabdities, Neural Development in Mice, Transgenic Mice, and Muscle Development and Function.


C. Level of Degrees Granted:
BA, MA, Ph.D. Although an MA is awarded, the Department of MCDB does not accept applications from students seeking the MA as a terminal degree.


D. Special Studies Programs:
Non-majors may take MCDB biology lecture courses without the accompanying laboratories.


E. Other Subjects That Overlap and Utilize Materials:
Psychology, Kinesiology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Education, Paleogeology, Mathematics, Medicine, Physics, Speech pathology, Museum, and Environmental Studies.


F. Institutes or Labs That Utilize Materials:
Institute of Behavioral Genetics (IBG), Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS), Institute of Cognitive Science (ICS), Center for Neuroscience, Center for Astrobiology, and Science Discovery.


G. Special Populations Outside University That Utilize Materials:
Biochemical and Biopharmaceutical Companies, State Agencies (i.e. departments of health and the environment), Hospitals/Physicians, Medical Libraries, Educators, Interlibrary Loan.


H. Other Considerations:
The sciences are strongly cross-disciplinary. Materials peripheral to MCDB such as bioengineering, consumer health, or the administration of biological programs are covered in a limited capacity.

II. General Collection Guidelines:

A. Methods of Acquiring Materials:
Approval plan for books from Blackwell North America's Book Services. Special orders from faculty requests and reviews. Serial subscriptions with vendors including consortium contracts. Solicited and unsolicited publisher catalogs and advertisements. Gifts-in-kind are accepted according to the needs of the collection.


B. Languages:
MCDB has no language requirement. Materials received are almost exclusively in English.


C. Chronological Guidelines:
Currency is extremely important. Emphasis is from the late 20th century to date. Historical documents may be of some interest and may be acquired on a very limited basis.


D. Geographical Guidelines:


E. Treatment of Subject:
Campus textbooks are not acquired. Textbook type materials will be acquired on a limited basis depending on usefulness and quality. Undergraduate materials are acquired on a limited basis. Emphasis is placed on research and reference materials, particularly peer reviewed journal literature. Popular treatments are collected on a restricted basis and are targeted for the non-biology student population.


F. Types of Materials:
Primary indexes and abstracts for biology are online. Reference materials take the highest priority followed by the serial/journal literature, particularly from biological and medical societies, and monographic literature. All formats are received including electronic (i.e. online books or electronic serials), CDs, Microforms, video and print. All CU-B Master's theses are obtained from the MCDB department. Doctoral dissertations might be acquired but most are held by University Microfilms International. Government and international documents related to biology are held in Government Publications. The microform documents held in the Science Library for MCDB are extensive. They are primarily serials and historic monographs. Video materials are acquired on a limited basis.


G. Date of Publication:
Most materials acquired are the current year with some materials no more than five years old. Earlier materials, if desired, may be difficult to obtain as they go out-of-print quickly.


H. Other General Considerations:
In general, the MCDB library collection is held in the Science Library located in Norlin Library. All serials and theses from 1979 back are held in the PASCAL off-site storage facility located in Denver. Video materials are located in the Media Library. Outdated video materials, if still of some use, are held in PASCAL. Microform collections are housed in the Science Library. Online materials can be accessed by any patron on-site. Secondary materials that might duplicate holdings of other CU Libraries, particularly the Health Center Medical Library, are usually not purchased. Print copies of serials and some reference works with good online archiving policies are being discontinued in favor of online access only.

III. Observations and Qualifications by Subject and LC Class:
The Library of Congress subject classification system does not work well to consolidate collections relevant to the sciences, let alone the biological sciences, in one location. Collections are scattered in diverse if not disparate call number ranges. Below is a general outline of the various LC subject classes relevant to MCDB:

QE Paleozoology and Paleobotany (evolution)


QH 201-278.5 Microscopy

QH 301-705 Biology (general)

QH 426-470 Genetics

QH 471-489 Reproduction

QH 501-531 Life

QH573-671 Cytology


QK 1-989 Botany (plant anatomy, physiology, and ecology)


QL 1-700 Zoology (general)

QL 750-795 Animal Behavior and Animal Psychology

QL 799 Morphology

QL 801-950.9 Anatomy

QL 951-991 Embryology


QM 1-600 Human Anatomy

QM 601-695 Human Embryology


QP 1-300 Physiology (general)

QP 341-495 Neurophysiology / Neuropsychology

QP 501-801 Animal Biochemistry

QP 901-981 Experimental Pharmacology


QR 1-74 Microbiology (general)

QR 75-99 Bacteria

QR 180-189.5 Immunology

QR 355-500 Virology


R 1-920 Medicine (general)

RC 952-954.5 Neurology and Psychiatry

RC1200-1245 Sports Medicine

RV 1-431 Botanic Medicine


SB 1-1119 Plant Culture

SF 1-1110 Animal Culture


TA 166-167 Human Engineering