Program in Immunology & Microbiology

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Program Directors:
Immunology Advisor: Leslie Berg
Virology Advisor: Trudy Morrison
Bacterial Pathogenesis Advisor: Beth McCormick

The Immunology & Microbiology Program features cutting-edge research in:


• The molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial and viral pathogenesis
• Host responses to infection and vaccine development
• Fundamental molecular and cellular immunology
• Diabetes and transplantation immunology
• Systems biology of host-pathogen dynamics

Immunology, virology, and bacterial pathogenesis are interdisciplinary biomedical fields that employ methods ranging from molecular biology to clinical trials. The Immunology & Microbiology Program (IMP) is administered by an interdepartmental group that includes faculty with diverse research interests, including the molecular and cellular basis of immune responsiveness, molecular mechanisms of viral replication, host-pathogen interactions, and the control of viral, bacterial and parasitic infections.

The major purpose of the Program is to recruit talented and highly motivated graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and give them first-rate preparation for competitive careers in academic research and industry. Presently there are 50 graduate students in the program, and committee faculty members are currently training 85 postdoctoral fellows.

Graduate students in IMP acquire a broad base of knowledge in biochemistry, genetics, and cellular and molecular biology through the core curriculum. Specialized training in immunology, virology, and bacteriology is initiated in a first year course, Infection and Immune Response, which introduces students to the immune system, basic principles of bacteriology and virology, and the interaction of bacteria and viruses with the host. Emphasis is placed on experimental systems and analysis of primary research papers. Further training continues in the fall of the second year with at least one of three courses: Advanced Virology, Advanced Molecular and Cellular Immunology, and Advanced Bacterial Pathogenesis. Also offered is Introduction to Flow and Image
Cytometry. Advanced courses emphasize reading and critical analysis of recent research papers. Additional training in the second year includes with seminars, journal clubs, and tutorials all of which explore the most active areas of current research. Laboratory rotations help familiarize students with current research methods and facilitate the selection of an area of interest and a laboratory in which students can pursue their dissertation research.

Requirements for Specialization


In addition to the core courses and laboratory rotations, IMP students should take Infection and Immune Response in the first year, and, in the second year, at least one advanced level course offered by the Immunology and Microbiology program. Equivalent advanced topics courses can be substituted with permission. All students, except for those in the final stages of their dissertation research, are required to take Graduate Student Seminar each fall semester, and Immunobiology and Microbiology Seminar and Discussion, or an equivalent guest scientist seminar program, for two semesters.

Additional information about application for admission, entrance requirements and the school-wide program can be found @ www.umassmed.edu/gsbs/futurestudents/overview.aspx. Specific questions about the Program in Immunology and Microbiology should be directed to the Program Directors listed above.