Hawaiian Bobtail Squid
© R. Isenberg, Mandel Lab

GFP labeled bacteria inside Aspergillus spore
© N. Keller, Keller Lab

Vibrio fischeri (green) in the ciliated epithelial appendages of the bobtail squid light organ
© D. Tarnowski, Mandel Lab

An egg infected with bioluminescent influenza virus
© A. Mehle, Mehle Lab

Immunofluorescence staining of human NKT cells clustered with dendritic cells
© J. Gumperz, Gumperz Lab

Confocal Micrograph of E. Coli Infected Mouse Bladder Cells
© R. Welch, Welch Lab

The mission of the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology is to provide comprehensive scientific instruction to students, conduct novel and meaningful research, and offer consultation and service in microbiology and immunology as they relate to human health and disease.

Research underway in our department involves the rigorous study of bacterial, fungal, protozoan, and viral pathogens. Organisms under study are: Toxoplasma gondii, Neisseria gonorrhoeaeMycobacterium sp., Brucellasp., Listeria, BlastomycesAspergillus, Cryptococcus neoformansCandida, influenza virus, Herpes simplex, and uropathogenic Escherichia coli. Faculty also investigate diverse immunological topics such as the sexual dimorphism of immune responses, regulatory T cell biology, leukocyte migration, and vaccine development. Recently, outstanding research groups have been established to address symbiotic relationships between bacteria and animals and the influence of the microbiome on wound healing. Since the Department’s establishment in 1935, our faculty have made fundamental contributions to the study of infectious disease and immunity. Our current faculty demographic reveals a melting pot of well-established, recognized leaders in the field, a consistently productive group of mid-level faculty, and a new group of junior faculty who are poised to step to the fore and represent our department well into the future.

MMI provides an exceptional learning environment for undergraduates through rigorous coursework and research opportunities. Graduate students may earn a Ph.D. through the MMI co-sponsored, nationally acclaimed Microbiology Doctoral Training Program. The success of our instructional efforts is evident from the excellent student evaluations and ratings, the numerous teaching awards garnered by our faculty, and the doctoral training program’s ranking of first among U.S. public institutions and third nationwide.


Nancy Keller, PhD

“I was inspired to go to graduate school, majoring in Plant Pathology, from my years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, a country in Southern Africa.”

Meet Nancy!


Andrew Hryckowian, PhD

“A research opportunity I had in high school which involved bacteriophage research opened countless doors for me and helped lead me to my current interests in bacterial pathogens and microbial communities.”

Meet Drew!


Laura Knoll, PhD

“Don’t be afraid to try new things. Every new experience just gives you confidence for your future experiments. You never know what biology is going to throw at you.”

Meet Laura!

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