Research in the Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology department focuses on the origin and development of human diseases with an emphasis on microbial agents and molecular mechanisms of host response and immune function. Research emphasis is placed on infectious agents (bacteria, viruses and parasites), including microbial adherence, invasion of host cells and intracellular survival, evasion of immune responses, vector-borne diseases and microbial toxins. Research on host resistance and response pathways is studied, including cellular and humoral immune responses to microbes and their products.
Specific themes which are current strengths in this program include: the study of infectious agents which may be used as bioterrorism weapons, enteric and respiratory pathogens and the development of vaccines to protect the public against emerging and established infectious agents. Additional research focus areas in molecular pathogenesis include viral replication and transformation, oncogene expression and intracellular signaling.
Collaborative research projects have been established with the Departments of Biology, Biochemistry/Biophysics, Veterinary Pathobiology and Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health at Texas A&M University; the intercollegiate programs in Genetics, Nutrition and Virology and the Center for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases at IBT.