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Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis

The Graduate Program in Immunology & Microbial Pathogenesis offers interdisciplinary biomedical research training leading to the Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., and M.S. degrees.

Faculty members and students explore diverse areas of inquiry related to the medical implications of microbes and the human body’s response to them.

Current research areas include:


  • Effects of man-made pesticides and herbicides and heavy metals on the immune system
  • Biochemistry of inflammatory cytokines
  • Immune response in bacterial and viral diseases
  • Regulation of signal transduction in immune responses
  • Molecular aspects of cell signaling as it relates to cancer chemotherapy and cell growth
  • Peptide and DNA vaccines for contraception
  • Cytotoxic T cells in transplant rejection and disease pathogenesis


  • Physiology of pathogenic microbes
  • Microbial genetics
  • Mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis
  • Microbial virulence factors
  • Chemotaxis and motility
  • Interactions between microbes and their hosts
  • Molecular mimicry and structure-function relationship of bacterial virulence factors
  • Microbial biofilms
  • Bacterial diseases including Lyme Disease, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel (Crohn’s) disease, and streptococcal infections

Graduate education in this program emphasizes independent research training.  Once you acquire a strong foundation in the core biomedical concepts, you will have flexibility in choosing advanced coursework in specific areas of interest.

John Barnett, Ph.D., Professor & Chair
John Barnett, Ph.D., Professor & Chair
(304) 293-6260
Faculty Research Profile