The Program in the Biology of Model Systems (PBMS) is headquartered in the Columbus Center, University of Maryland School of Medicine. The Program utilizes model organisms with the goal of illuminating fundamental biological mechanisms and providing insights into the workings of human and other higher organisms (see NIH - Model Organisms for Biomedical Research).
Many model organisms, including prokaryotes, yeasts, fungi, protozoan, invertebrates, and vertebrates are being used to explore basic and conserved mechanisms of molecular and cellular biology with the potential to understand the pathogenesis of complex human diseases, and, to translate findings into treatments. This strategy is made possible by the common evolutionary origin of organisms, and the conservation of genomic, metabolic and developmental pathways. Model organisms, many of which are members of marine, estuarine, and aquatic environments, not only contribute to advances in biomedicine, but also to our understanding of the ecologically and economically important species in the Chesapeake Bay.