Infection & Immunity

Faculty in this concentration study the molecular and cellular biology of infectious agents, as well as the immune response to infections in humans, rodents, bats, and avian species. Pathogenic agents of interest include toxins, viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, as well as the arthropod vectors of mosquito- or tick-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus fever, Lyme disease, babesiosis and malaria. Active areas of research target emerging infectious diseases like tuberculosis and cholera, antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as MRSA and CRE, and biodefense studies are aimed at combatting agents such as anthrax and ricin. Technologies that include metabolomics, proteomics, and genomics are employed to investigate infectious agents, mucosal immunity, antibody-based immunotherapies, immunological memory, vaccines, and the impact of environmental factors on immunity and susceptibility to infection. Diagnostic tests are developed using the latest technologies to improve pathogen detection and characterization. The role of climate change in the distribution and intensity of infectious agents and their vectors is a unique developing theme within this concentration.