Molecular Microbiology Graduate Program

Program Chair: David Hendrixson, Ph.D.
Vice Chairs: Eric Hansen, Ph.D., and Vanessa Sperandio, Ph.D.
Program Assistant: Harmony Hilton

Objective: To provide a superior level of training in biomedical research strategies and technologies related to major principles of molecular microbiology, so that graduates are prepared for a career as an independent investigator in both basic and applied aspects of the microbiological sciences.

Interests: The graduate program in Molecular Microbiology emphasizes an integrated approach to the study of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The major emphasis areas are:

  • Microbial pathogenesis: analysis of virulence and colonization factors, bacterial toxins, interactions of pathogens and their products with eukaryotic host cells, contemporary vaccine strategies, bacterial gene regulation, bacterial export and secretion, and genetic regulation of virulence gene expression
  • Virology: viral replication and persistence, viral pathogenesis, neurovirology, host resistance to viral infection, viral vaccines, eukaryotic gene regulation, signal transduction pathways, and cellular and molecular mechanisms of human oncogenesis
  • Cellular and molecular immunology: mechanisms of immune cell activation by microbes and their products, host responses to pathogen infection, role of commensal bacteria in modulation of immune responses and infection, mechanisms of inflammation, tumor immunology, mechanisms of innate immune responses, and functions of T cell subsets.

Curriculum: The academic graduate program policy provides guidance and training suited to the needs, background, and interests of each individual student. Additionally, standards of performance and achievement must be met so that any degree awarded is an assurance that the recipient is of the highest possible caliber.

The basic curriculum specific for the Molecular Microbiology Graduate Program includes:

  • Principles of Microbiology (Spring of first year)
  • Elective (Spring of first year)
  • Microbial Genetics (Spring of first year)
  • Bacterial Pathogenesis (Fall of second year)
  • Virology (Fall of second year)
  • Immunobiology of Infectious Disease (Fall of second year)

Other required activities include:

  • Work-In-Progress Seminar Series
  • Contemporary Topics (Journal Club)
  • Microbiology Seminar Series
  • Qualifying Examination for Ph.D. Candidacy