Department Overview

About the Department

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is focused on research and educational programs which relate to microbial pathogens (viruses and prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes) and the host immune defenses which protect against these organisms. Current research emphasizes cutting-edge molecular techniques and includes, but is not limited to, studies on: autoimmunity, biodefense, bioinformatics, biofilms, cancer biology, gene therapy, genetics and genomics, HIV/AIDS, immunologic mechanisms, respiratory pathogens (including influenza) and vaccine development.




Department Highlights

Image of Scientific Cell Analysis be conducted.

  • The department ranks among the top 15 in the nation for NIH grant support. (and is first within New York State.)
  • Ranked second in NIH training grants
  • Our past students currently occupy leadership positions in academia, the biotech industry and the government.
  • The University of Rochester was ranked among the top 10 best places to work for scientists in the Life Sciences.

Our Students

Candid photo of MBI students at graduationCurrently, 74 students are enrolled in our Ph.D. program, and their research is overseen by some 32 primary tenure-track faculty members, and an additional 18 secondary faculty members – ensuring a great range of research opportunities. Our students themselves are also highly diverse, with some 19% of them coming from under-represented minority groups. This reflects in part the success of our NIH-funded Post-Baccalaureate Research and Education Program (PREP) which provides intensive research training to under-represented minority students, and is directed by Dr. Edith Lord (Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education).

Our pre-doctoral training programs among the best in the nation. Our students regularly make ground-breaking discoveries that are published in top biomedical journals, and perform research that makes a difference. This is exemplified by the 1994 Ph.D. thesis of Dr. Robert C. Rose, in which Dr. Rose developed a critical technology that led to the production of vaccines designed to prevent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer. Vaccines are now available world-wide and could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year, thanks to the work of Dr. Rose, his mentor Dr. Richard Reichman, and their colleague, Dr. William Bonnez.

Recent graduates of our doctoral program have gone on to further training at some of our nation’s leading research institutions and many of our students have gone on to great professional and personal success after starting their careers here in Rochester. This includes several who: have started their own companies; are department chairs or center directors in academia; are research directors or program managers in the biotech industry; are lab chiefs or program managers for government agencies; or are faculty members at top 25 research universities such as Columbia, Duke, Harvard, Hopkins, Penn and Yale.

Roster of current students by year

Contact the Department

If you would like to speak to someone from the department of Microbiology and Immunology, please contact the department's main number: (585) 275-3402.

To see a list of faculty and staff, please click here for the departmental directory.