Richard Calderone, PH.D., Chair

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is concerned with the study of the immunological and biological properties of bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, fungi, and animal parasites. 

To ensure that students become acquainted with the dynamics of the host/parasite relationship, including host defense systems, an emphasis is placed on the relationship of these microorganisms to disease. For each group of organisms, approaches to diagnosis, treatment and prevention are emphasized. Modifications in the host that influence pathogenesis are also discussed. Lectures develop concepts essential to understanding infectious phenomena. Subjects covered include a comprehensive discussion of the different elements of the immune response to infectious agents; microbial genetics and metabolism principals; virology; parasitology and mycology; vaccines and other preventive approaches to infectious diseases. A survey of the normal flora of the healthy human and the etiological agents of different diseases is carried out and special attention is given to proper collection of materials and to limitations of testing procedures. The course consists of lectures, clinical conferences, problem-based learning, and laboratory exercises. The laboratory exercises include hands-on experiences by the students in the growth and identification of the important human bacterial and fungal pathogens. Recent diagnostic tests and techniques used in the rapid identification of various human pathogens will be discussed in the laboratory. 

Qualified and interested students are encouraged to spend their elective time in advanced research studies with faculty members. These studies include investigation of various infectious agents, including bacteria, fungi and viruses, the immunology and genetics of microorganism infections and autoimmune diseases. The department will consider highly qualified individuals for the combined MD/Ph.D. program.