Department of Microbiology and Immunology
WILLIAM E. GOLDMAN, Chair
Steven L. Bachenheimer (30) Molecular Biology of Herpesviruses
*Ralph Baric (76) Molecular Mechanisms of Virus Cross-Species Transmissibility and Systems Genetics and Pathogenesis
Robert Bourret (64) Signal Transduction in Bacteria
Stephen H. Clarke (53) Mechanisms of B Cell Tolerance and Autoimmunity, Human Autoimmune Translational Research
*Myron S. Cohen (55) Biology and Epidemiology of Transmission of STD Pathogens (Including HIV)
Peggy Cotter (97) Microbial Pathogenesis, Molecular Genetics, Protein Secretion
Blossom Damania (79) Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8), Rhesus Monkey Rhadinovirus (RRV)
*Jeff Dangl (87) Plant Genetics, Plant Disease Resistance and Cell Death Control, Bacterial Type III Secretion Systems
Dirk Dittmer (88) West Nile Virus (WNV) and Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV-8)
Susan A. Fiscus (65) HIV Pathogenesis and Diagnostics
*J. Victor Garcia-Martinez (101) Viral Pathogenesis/Immunology, Humanized Mice, HIV/AIDS
*Peter H. Gilligan (51) Bacterial Toxins, Clinical Microbiology
Jack Griffith (35) Chromosome Structure: Viruses and Their Host Cells
William E. Goldman (95) Pathogenesis of Respiratory Tract Infections: Histoplasmosis, Pertussis, and Plague
Thomas Kawula (63) Bacterial Genetics, Microbial Pathogenesis
*Stanley M. Lemon (59) Molecular Virology, Innate Immunity, Viral Carcinogenesis
*Zhi Liu (91) Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and Immunology of Hemidesmosome and Basement Membrane
*David M. Margolis (90) Regulation of Gene Expression, Molecular Biology of Retroviruses, HIV Pathogenesis
*Steven R. Meshnick (81) Malaria and Pneumocystis, Molecular Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Drug Resistance
*Virginia L. Miller (96) Molecular and Genetic Analysis of Microbial Pathogenesis, Virulence Gene Regulation, Host-Pathogen Interactions
*Robert A. Nicholas (94) Antibiotic Resistance Mechanisms, Bacterial Genetics, Neisseria gonorrhoeae
*Joseph S. Pagano (14) Epstein-Barr Virus and Ubiquitin-Proteasomal Systems, Interferon Regulatory Factors, Invasion and Metastasis and Antiviral Drugs
*David Peden, Translational and Clinical Research in Environmental Lung Disease
*Matthew Redinbo, Structural and Chemical Biology of Host-Pathogen Contacts
Nancy Raab-Traub (52) Molecular Virology and Oncogenesis
*Howard M. Reisner (32) Immunogenetics of Human Plasma Proteins (Particularly IgG and Coagulant Factors VII and IX)
*R. Balfour Sartor (77) Etiology and Pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Especially Crohn’s Disease and Associated Extraintestinal Manifestations)
*Jonathan Serody (82) Transplantation and Tumor Immunology
*P. Frederick Sparling (18) Bacterial Pathogenesis, Molecular Biology of Bacterial Membranes
Lishan Su (71) Immune Development, Viral Pathogenesis
*Ronald Swanstrom (74) Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis of HIV
Jenny P. Ting (50) Molecular Immunology, Transcription, Signal Transduction, Apoptosis, Neuroimmunology, Transplantation
Roland Tisch (70) Immune Tolerance, T-Cell Antigen Recognition, T-Cell Mediated Autoimmunity, Tumor Antigen-Specific Genetic Vaccines, Type 1 Diabetes
*William J. Yount (25) Genetic Control of Antibody Response and Gamma Globulin Synthesis in Humans
*Cornelus Beckers, Motility and Signal Transduction in Toxoplasma and Plasmodium
Miriam Braunstein (80) Bacterial Pathogenesis, Molecular Genetics, Tuberculosis
*Christina Burch, Experimental Studies of Evolution using Viruses
*Bruce Cairns (93) Immune Response to Injury, Cellular Immunology, Transplantation
Edward J. Collins (69) Immune Recognition, T-Cell Activation, Host-Pathogen Interactions
Aravinda de Silva (73) Arthropod Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases and Microbial Pathogenesis
*Patrick M. Flood (60) T-Cell Biology, Tumor Immunity, Neuroimmunology
*Mark Heise (83) Molecular Genetics of Viral Pathogenesis
*Ilona Jaspers (106), Respiratory Viruses, Host Innate Defense in the Respiratory Mucosa, Virus-Host Cell Interaction, Epithelial-Immune Cell Interaction, Environmental Effects
*Christian Jobin (105), Bacteria/Host Interactions, Intestinal Inflammation and Injury Responses, Campylobacter Jejuni, Colon Cancer
Tal Kafri, Development of HIV-Based Vector for Gene Therapy, the Epigenetics of HIV and HIV-1 Vectors, the Basic Biology of Nonintegrating HIV-1 and HIV-1 Vectors
*Silva Markovic-Plese, Autoimmune Response in Multiple Sclerosis, New Immunomodulatory Therapies
Glenn Matsushima (68) Molecular Neuroimmunology, Innate Immunity
Raymond Pickles (86) Respiratory Viruses, Host Innate Defense in the Airway, Virus-Host Cell Interactions, Gene Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis and Other Lung Diseases
*Scott Plevy (92) Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Treatment
Barbara J. Vilen (78) Molecular Immunology, Signal Transduction, and B Cell Tolerance
*Jennifer Webster-Cyriaque (84) Oral Manifestations of Systemic Disease, Host-Virus Interactions, Viral Oncogenesis, Viral Pathogenesis during Immunosuppression, Signal Transduction, Cellular Biology, Gene Expression
Matthew C. Wolfgang (89) Microbial Pathogenesis, Bacterial Gene Regulation, Host-Pathogen Interactions
Kristina Abel (98) Neonatal/Pediatric Immunology; Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases; HIV and Co-Infections
Cary Moody (103) Pathogenesis of Human Papillomaviruses
Nathaniel Moorman (104) Molecular Virology, Host Pathogen Interactions, HCMV Pathogenesis
*John Rawls (102) Commensal Host-Microbe Interactions in the Zebrafish Digestive Tract
Anthony Richardson (99) Bacterial Physiology and Pathogenesis
*Stefanie Sarantopoulos, Immunology
Rita Tamayo (100) Microbial Pathogenesis, Bacterial Genetics, Bacterial Gene Regulation
*Teresa Tarrant, Leukocyte Trafficking, Kinase Regulation of Chemokine Receptors, Inflammatory Models of Autoimmunity and Cancer
Yisong Wan (103) Regulatory T Cell and TGF-Beta Signaling Controlled T Cell Function under Normal and Pathological Conditions
*Jason Whitmire, Viral Immunology, Memory T Cell Differentiation, Vaccines, Inflammation, Microbial Immunology
Nancy C. Fisher, Flow Cytometry
*Marcia M. Hobbs, Pathogenesis of Nonviral Sexually Transmitted Infections (Trichomonas vaginalis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae) and Molecular Diagnostics
Research Associate Professor
Ruth Silversmith, Bacterial Chemotaxis, Mechanisms of Phosphotransfer Reactions
Research Assistant Professors
W. June Brickey, Host Immune Responses, Radiation Injury, Expression Profiling
*Robert Maile, Cellular Immunology, Burn Immunology, Transplantation, T Cell Regulation, Bacterial and Viral Infectivity
Karen McKinnon, Dendritic Cell Induction of Tumor Specific CD4 and CD8 T Lymphocytes
Julie A.E. Nelson, Molecular Virology, HIV Evolution and Pathogenesis, HCV Co-Infection, HIV Assay Development
Kenneth F. Bott
Janne G. Cannon
William J. Cromartie
Marshall H. Edgell
Jeffrey A. Frelinger
Eng Shang Huang
Clyde A. Hutchison III
Robert E. Johnston
David G. Klapper
John E. Newbold
John H. Schwab
* joint faculty members
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology, an administrative division of the School of Medicine, is a unit of The Graduate School. It offers instruction leading to the doctor of philosophy degree. A terminal master of science degree is granted only under special conditions. The department is highly regarded in many scientific disciplines, including bacteriology, immunology, virology, infectious diseases and pathogenesis, molecular genetics, prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular and cellular biology, cancer biology, computational biology, and structural biology. Research in the department is supported by funds from the University, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and other private foundations and granting agencies.
For detailed information, visit the department’s Web site at med.unc.edu/microimm.
Program of Study
As is the case for all graduate students in the basic science departments of the UNC School of Medicine, education during the first year is under the guidance of the interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP). Students rotate through three different research laboratories of their choosing in year one. For students interested in microbiology and immunology, recommended classroom courses include Immunobiology (MCRO 614), Virology (MCRO 630), Microbial Pathogenesis I (MCRO 635), and Microbial Pathogenesis II (MCRO 640).
Upon choosing a dissertation lab and joining the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, students are provided with an outstanding learning environment, an opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research, and most importantly, thorough preparation for a successful career in science. The Microbiology and Immunology Ph.D. program is designed to provide a foundation of fundamental knowledge in modern microbiology and immunology, foster critical scientific thinking, develop written and oral communication skills, allow students to gain teaching experience, and offer opportunities to travel and present posters or talks at national meetings. Specific components of the Microbiology and Immunology Ph.D. training program include:
Completion of six relevant courses, including two seminar/tutorial courses (e.g. MCRO 710, MCRO 711, MCRO 712), is required. Students typically finish four of the six classes while in BBSP and the remainder during year two. There is no language requirement.
The doctoral written preliminary examination (typically towards the end of year two) is a non-thesis research proposal in the format of an NIH grant application. Many students prepare by taking the MCRO 795 writing class in the fall semester of year two. The exam is intended to be an assessment of each student’s ability to formulate an original and independent experimental approach and adequately express his or her ideas in writing.
The doctoral oral preliminary examination (typically at the start of year three) is an oral defense of the written research proposal. The oral exam provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to discuss the fields of science related to their proposal, as well as their ability to analyze problems and design experiments.
Students must regularly attend weekly student and departmental seminars beginning in year two and present their research annually in the student seminar series beginning in year three.
Students act as teaching assistants for two semesters in department-approved courses, typically in years two and three.
Students form a dissertation committee in the middle of year three, obtain approval of their dissertation project, and meet annually with their committee to discuss research progress. A goal is to complete sufficient original research for at least two first author papers in high-quality refereed journals. After writing a dissertation, students undergo a final oral examination and present their research in a public seminar. The Ph.D. degree is typically completed in five to six years.
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology consists of approximately75 faculty members, 70 graduate students, 50 postdoctoral scientists, 50 research staff, and 8 administrative staff, who together form a highly interactive, friendly, and collaborative community.
The department occupies approximately 33,000 square feet of the Mary Ellen Jones Building. A significant number of faculty who hold primary appointments in the department have laboratories in the adjacent Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as other departments within the schools of Medicine and Public Health.
A wide variety of modern equipment is available in individual laboratories or shared by multiple users throughout the department. Well-equipped research laboratories are supplemented by specialized rooms dedicated to tissue culture, controlled temperature environments, BSL3 physical containment for research on microbial select agents, supervised animal care, etc. In addition, the University operates an extensive network of core facilities with major equipment and expert support staff, including flow cytometry, genomics, proteomics, oligonucleotide synthesis, DNA sequencing, X-ray crystallography, NMR, animal models (transgenic mouse and embryonic stem cell services), animal histopathology, bioinformatics, gene chips, confocal microscopy, electron microscopy, and mass spectrometry.
The department is fully supplied with high-speed Internet connections (both wired and wireless). University libraries provide electronic access to thousands of professional journals.
Students seeking admission to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology apply to BBSP, a common portal by which students interested in any of the 14 participating graduate programs begin their studies at UNC. To apply, visit www.med.unc.edu/bbsp and gradschool.unc.edu/admissions, fill out the online application, and select microbiology and immunology as your first choice of interest.
All Ph.D. students making satisfactory degree progress receive a stipend plus in-state tuition, fees, and health insurance. Funds are available from individual research grants, training grants, the department, and the University. Students are encouraged to apply for a predoctoral fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation, or other agencies.
Courses for Graduate and Advanced Undergraduate Students
515 Introduction to Microbiology (4). Open only to dental students. A course covering basic aspects of microbiology and immunology including sterilization, action of antimicrobial chemotherapeutic agents, concepts of infection and immunity, and the study of certain selected infectious agents.
614 Immunobiology (3). A strong background in molecular biology, eukaryotic genetics, and biochemistry is required. Advanced survey course with topics that include molecular recognition, genetic mechanisms of host resistance, development of cells and cell interactions; hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, and resistance to infection. Course material from textbook and primary literature.
615 Special Topics in Microbiology or Immunology (1–21). Permission of the department except for department majors. Designed to introduce the student to research methods. Minor investigative problems are conducted with advice and guidance of the staff. May be repeated for credit.
630 Virology (3). Required preparation, coursework in molecular biology and cell biology. Current concepts of the chemistry, structure, replication, genetics, and the natural history of animal viruses and their host cells.
631 Advanced Molecular Biology I (BIOC 631, BIOL 631, GNET 631) (3). See GNET 631 for description.
632 Advanced Molecular Biology II (BIOC 632, BIOL 632, GNET 632) (3). See GNET 632 for description.
635 Microbial Pathogenesis I (3). Permission of the instructor. Required preparation, coursework in molecular biology and genetics. Topics will include aspects of basic bacteriology as well as bacterial and fungal pathogens and mechanisms of disease.
640 Microbial Pathogenesis II (3). Permission of the instructor or a fundamental understanding of molecular virology and immunology. Molecular pathogenesis, with a primary focus on viral pathogens. Additional topics include vaccines and genetics of host-pathogen interactions.
643 Cell Structure, Function, and Growth Control I (BIOC 643, CBIO 643, PHCO 643, PHYI 643) (3). See CBIO 643 for description.
644 Cell Structure, Function, and Growth Control II (BIOC 644, CBIO 644, PHCO 644, PHYI 644) (3). See CBIO 644 for description.
Courses for Graduates
701 Seminar in Microbiology and Immunology (1). Faculty and student seminars on current research in microbiology and immunology..
702 Seminar in Microbiology (1). Seminar on selected topics in microbiology.
710 Seminar/Tutorial in Prokaryotic Molecular Biology (1–21). One or two faculty and a small number of students will consider current research of importance in depth. Emphasis is on current literature, invited speakers, etc., rather than textbooks.
711 Seminar/Tutorial in Animal Virology (1–21). One or two faculty and a small number of students consider current research of importance in depth. Emphasis is on current literature, invited speakers, etc., rather than textbooks.
712 Seminar/Tutorial in Immunology (1–21). One or two faculty and a small number of students consider current research of importance in depth. Emphasis is on current literature, invited speakers, etc., rather than textbooks.
790 Directed Readings in Prokaryotic Molecular Biology (1). Permission of the instructor or one prior prokaryotic molecular biology course. Directed readings in prokaryotic molecular biology under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty. May be repeated for credit.
791 Directed Readings in Virology (1). Permission of the instructor or one prior virology course. Directed readings in virology under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty. May be repeated for credit.
792 Directed Readings in Immunology (1). Permission of the instructor or one prior immunology course. Directed readings in immunology under the direction of a member of the graduate faculty. May be repeated for credit.
795 Research Concepts (2). Permission of the instructor. This course will provide multiple opportunities for the student to write parts of hypothesis-based proposals, receive substantial feedback, and to rewrite the text. There will be approximately twelve single-page writing assignments.
901 Research in Microbiology or Immunology (1–21). Permission of the department. Designed to introduce the student to research methods and special techniques. Short-term problems are conducted with the advice and guidance of the staff. May be repeated for credit.
993 Master’s Thesis (3–6).
994 Doctoral Dissertation (3–9).