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Molecular Microbiology Ph.D. Program

Basic Biomedical Sciences Umbrella Program; First-year students complete a core curriculum with: Core Course, 2+ Laboratory Rotations; Responsible Conduct of Research Training in Integrity, Ethics, and Excellence. Second-year students take a qualifying exam to enter the Ph.D. program: Collaborative and Cross-Disciplinary

About the Molecular Microbiology Program

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The Graduate Program in Molecular Microbiology emphasizes an integrated approach to the study of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The overall objective of the Molecular Microbiology Program is to provide a rich environment of multidisciplinary training in research strategies and technology that will prepare the graduate for a career as an independent investigator in both the basic and applied biomedical sciences.

Major Ph.D. Degree Program Areas

Microbial Pathogenesis

This program area covers:

  • Analysis of virulence factors, bacterial toxins, lipopolysaccharides, and outer membrane proteins
  • Interactions of pathogens and their products with eukaryotic host cells (cellular microbiology)
  • Antigenic variation
  • Contemporary vaccine strategies
  • Bacterial gene regulation (osmoregulation, quorum sensing)
  • Bacterial export and secretion
  • Genetic regulation of bacterial virulence expression


This program area covers:

  • Enteroviruses (e.g. poliovirus, coxsackievirus, norovirus)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Flaviviruses (Zika virus, dengue virus, yellow fever virus, West Nile virus)
  • Herpesviruses (KSHV, herpes simplex virus)
  • Poxviruses (vaccinia virus)
  • Respiratory viruses (influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, paramyxoviruses)
  • Viral entry
  • Viral replication and persistence
  • Innate immune control of viral replication
  • Virus and host evolution - genetics arms races
  • Viral vaccines
  • Viral and eukaryotic host gene regulation
  • Signal transduction pathways
  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of human oncogenesis

Cellular and Molecular Immunology

This program area covers:

  • Functions of natural killer cells
  • Antigen processing and presentation
  • Functions of T cell subsets
  • Mechanisms of immune cell activation by microbial modulins
  • Immunotoxin
  • Immunoprivileged sites
  • Mechanisms of inflammation
  • Dendritic cells
  • Tumor immunology
  • Generation of antibody diversity
Rachel Chanin

“What really sets UT Southwestern apart is the environment. Yes, the research facilities and quality of science here are outstanding. But more importantly the atmosphere is supportive and encouraging.”

Rachael Chanin

Molecular Microbiology Graduate Program


Going Beyond Lab Research

In addition to offering extensive training in laboratory research and technology, the Molecular Microbiology Graduate Program provides:

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  • Advanced Coursework

    Faculty members in the Molecular Microbiology Program offer advanced courses in:

    • Medical microbiology and infectious diseases (including immunology)
    • Molecular basis of microbial pathogenesis
    • Microbial genetics
    • Virology
    • Viruses in human cancer
    • Cell and molecular immunology
    • Genetic manipulation of the immune system
  • Seminars, Journal Clubs, Works-in-Progress Seminars

    Participation in seminars, elective courses, journal clubs, and works-in-progress seminars contributes to each student’s success.

Meet the Director

John Schoggins, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Microbiology
Graduate School: Ph.D., Cornell University Medical College, New York

“Overall, the research Program is dedicated to providing a superior level of training in biomedical research strategies and technologies related to the major principles of molecular microbiology.” Read Dr. Schoggins’ full message.

John Schoggins

Contact the Graduate School

Lisa Gardner, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean

Phone: 214-648-0718

Lisa Gardner, Ph.D.

Stuart Ravnik, Ph.D.

Associate Dean

Phone: 214-648-0733

Stuart Ravnik, Ph.D.

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Ph.D.

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Ph.D.

Phone: 214-648-2527

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Ph.D.

Deborah Evalds

Administrative Coordinator

Phone: 214-648-0007

Deborah Evalds