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Microbiology & Immunology

Microbiology and immunology research and training in the MCDB Department focuses on the study of mechanisms of regulation of gene expression and function in microorganisms including bacteria and ciliates, cultured animal cells, and animal models of infectious disease. Host interactions with microbial and viral pathogens, the molecular bases of pathogenesis, and mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity that confer protection from infectious disease are some of the areas of investigation by MCDB faculty and their students and postgraduate fellows. Interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches spanning biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genomics and bioinformatics are utilized in studies of microbiological processes and structures with potential applications that include disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.


Carolina Arias

Our lab focuses on understanding virus-host interactions. Because of the strict dependence of viruses on the molecular machineries of their hosts, complex strategies have evolved to enable viruses to control the cell to their advantage. In a way, viruses can be thought of as molecular tinkerers that became engineers. As such, viruses provide unique opportunities to peer into the inner workings of the cell: by understanding the mechanisms by which viruses control their host cells, we get valuable insights into basic cell biology.

Anthony De Tomaso

Molecular mechanisms of self/non-self recognition in non-vertebrates; characterization of stem cells and development processes underlying regeneration and aging.

Brooke Gardner

Combining biochemistry and cell biology to understand the regulation of membrane-bound organelles.

David Low

Cellular communication between bacteria, including mechanisms and biology of contact-dependent growth inhibition; epigenetic gene regulatory mechanisms.

Michael Mahan

Microbial pathogenesis; innate and adaptive immune responses to infection; microbial sepsis; vaccine and antimicrobial development.

Jamey Marth

Nanomedicine in Biomedical Discovery, Diagnosis, and Therapeutics that Target the Molecular and Cellular Origins of Disease.

Daniel E. Morse

Bio-inspired catalytic nanofabrication, tunable photonic materials and dynamic self-assembly. Applications to semiconductors, high-power batteries, electro-optics, IR and solar energy.

Eduardo Orias

Tetrahymena genetics and genomics; genetic, physical and sequence mapping of the germline and expressed genomes of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena thermophila.

Charles E. Samuel

Antiviral innate immunity and interferon action, with focus on the roles of double-stranded RNA in translational control by the PKR kinase and A-to-I RNA editing by the ADAR1 deaminase.