Graduate Education

Graduate Programs

The Department of Microbiology participates in two NIH funded interdepartmental Ph.D. graduate training programs: the Immunology Training Program and the Host-Pathogen Interactions Training Program. In addition to faculty in the Department of Microbiology, faculty in a variety of departments within the medical center participate in these programs, including faculty in various sections of the Department of Medicine, Pathology and Biochemistry, as well as departments in the School of Public Health and the Dental School. Students in these graduate programs participate in formal coursework, seminars and journal clubs, and directed research in the broad fields of microbiology and immunology, including focuses in host-pathogen interactions, immune regulation, molecular virology, and prokaryotic molecular biology. Our goal is to provide rigorous training to exceptional students in a supportive and collaborative environment and to prepare them for a career in research science.

Questions? Contact our director of graduate studies Rachel Fearns.

Information for Prospective Students:

Host-Pathogen Interactions Training Program
Immunology Training Program
Admissions Information

Information for Current Students:

Graduate Student Guide
Fair Expectations for Graduate Students

Courses provided by the Department of Microbiology

Graduate Medical Sciences Courses

GMS MI 701 Concepts in Virology
This course is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of viruses and their relationship with their host. It will involve an introduction to virus replication cycles and focus in detail on mechanisms that viruses with different genome structures use to transcribe and replicate them. It will also include lectures on the ways that viruses take advantage of the host translation machinery and subvert antiviral defenses. Aspects of virus pathogenesis and epidemiology will be explored with emphasis in HIV pathogenesis, viral persistence, and the emergence of new viruses. The course will be aimed towards first year Ph.D. students in the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. The classes will be taught by Microbiology Department faculty with expertise in virology. The content will include a combination of traditional lectures and discussion of primary research papers. Reading materials will include primary literature and suggested review articles, as well as handouts provided by the faculty. Students will be evaluated on their discussion of papers and in a final examination designed to test the students’ critical thinking and analytical skills. Fearns. Fall sem.

GMS MI 702 Concepts in Bacterial Evolution and Genetics
This course is designed to provide a fundamental understanding of how bacteria evolve and the mechanisms they use to adapt to changing environments. Course is taught as a combination of traditional and interactive lectures as well as discussion of reading from the primary literature. The emphasis is on what we know and why. Topics to be covered include phenotypic ad phylogenetic classification of bacteria and their viruses, traditional and genomic approaches for analyzing gene expression, and mechanisms of gene transfer and regulation in bacteria. Fisher. Spring sem.

GMS MI 713 Comprehensive Immunology
Prereq: consent of instructor. Comprehensive introduction to immunologic principles and applications. This course consists of both interactive lectures and discussion sessions. Emphasis is placed on analysis and interpretation of data from the primary literature. Prior coursework in genetics and biochemistry is strongly recommended. Ganley-Leal. Fall sem.

GMS MI 715 Immunological Basis of Disease
Journal article-based survey of mechanisms underlying diseases caused by abnormal immune system function. Emphasis will be on normal vs. pathological immune system processes towards reinforcing how basic immunological concepts have immediate clinical significance. Nikolajczyk. Spring sem.

GMS MI 718 Virology
Prereq: consent of instructor. Journal article-based.  Survey of current topics in virology are discussed. An emphasis is placed on the regulation of viral gene transcription and other processes of the viral replicative cycle.Viglianti, Zamansky. Spring sem.

GMS MI 811, 812 Microbiology Seminar
Presentation and discussion of problems of current interest. Corley. Fall & Spring sem.

GMS MI 823 Special Topics in Microbiology
This course explores the diverse mechanisms by which microorganisms evade host defenses and produce disease. Topics include: Mechanisms of Fungal, Bacterial, and Viral Immune Evasion, Bacterial Adherence and Invasion, Toxins, Cell Biology and Pathogenesis, and Viral-Host Cell Interactions. There are no prerequisites for participation, but previous coursework in microbiology and immunology is recommended. Wetzler. Spring sem.

GMS MI 911, 912 Research Microbiology.
Fall & Spring sem.

Medical School Courses

MED MS 220, 221, 223, 224, 225, 226 Disease and Therapy (DRx)
The Disease and Therapy (DRx) course integrates the study of disease, including pathophysiology, infectious etiologies, and pharmacologic management in an organ-based context. DRx begins with an introduction to the fundamental concepts of Microbiology, Pathology and Pharmacology in the Foundations Module and is followed by the Infectious Diseases Module in which the microbiological basis of infectious diseases and their pharmacologic treatment is addressed. Subsequent modules address diseases of the cardiovascular system, lungs, kidneys, joints and connective tissue, gastrointestinal system, endocrine and reproductive organs, skin, and nervous system, and psychiatric disorders. In the last module, oncology is taught in conjunction with hematology. Health law, policy, and management systems are incorporated throughout this curriculum.

Dental School Courses

SDM MD 515 (Dental) Microbiology and Immunology
The overall goals of this course are to provide students with: (1) a basic background in microbiology, including the nomenclature, structure, physiology, genetics, mechanisms of pathogenesis, and clinical manifestations associated with the major pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and viruses); (2) an understanding of how the basic principles of microbiology are integral to effective diagnosis, treatment and prevention of infectious disease, and (3) a basic background in immunology including the functions and disorders of the immune system.