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Education / Infection Immunity Grant / Leadership & Faculty

Leadership & Faculty

Principal Investigators

Paul Dunman

Program Director – Paul M. Dunman, PhD

Dr. Dunman spent 6 years at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, prior to rejoining academia in 2004.  He implemented both the Micro department’s Drug Discovery course (MBI 403) – which provides a venue in which program trainees can interact directly with research scientists from the private sector – and the Microbiology Industrial Internship Program and a Master’s program in Drug Discovery and Biomanufacturing; he also directed the URBEST Program Pathway in Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship.  His research uses Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii as model organisms to study bacterial pathogenesis and antimicrobial development.   

Brian Ward

Program Co-Director – Brian Ward, PhD

Dr. Ward spent 5 years as a postdoctoral researcher at NIH, prior to joining UR, and has broad knowledge of both academic and governmental research programs .  He has served as a lecturer and Director for all of the institution’s virology-focused courses, and is currently the course Director for the Host Defense course for medical students. He received the Graduate Student Society Faculty Teaching Award in 2009. His research focuses on the molecular interactions between viruses and their hosts, with emphasis on the complex events that occur to produce infectious orthopoxviruses. 

External Advisory Committee

Annaliesa Anderson, PhD

Dennis Metzger, PhD 

Eric Skaar, PhD 



Daisy Bird Geer, MHA

Chloe Wise



Hani Awad
Research Interest: Musculoskeletal Tissue Engineering

Lisa Beck
Research Interest: Cutaneous allergic inflammation, Atopic Dermatitis (eczema)

Paul Dunman
Research Interest:

Antimicrobial drug discovery using pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii: exploiting components of the bacterial RNA metabolism machinery; characterizing prokaryotic ribonucleases; understanding the impact of the host environment on antibiotic resistance and virulence factor expression. 

Michelle Dziejman
Research Interest: Type Three Secretion System mediated pathogenesis of V. cholerae

B. Paige Lawrence
Research Interest: Influence of environmental factors on the development and function of the immune system

Craig Morrell
Research Interest: Platelet functions in hemostasis/thrombosis and vascular inflammation. Platelet driven immune responses.

Joshua Munger
Research Interest: Mechanisms of metabolic network manipulation induced by viral infection and oncogenic mutation.

Michael O'Reilly
Research Interest: Understanding how an aberrant oxygen environment at birth disrupts development of the lung and heart, leading to persistent functional changes over the lifespan.

Martin Pavelka
Research Interest: Biosynthesis of the Cell Wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Biodefense Research

Jacques Robert
Research Interest: Experimental platform using the amphibian Xenopus for research in immunotoxicology, fundamental and medical immunology

Andrea Sant
Research Interest: Influenza specific immunity, vaccine design and regulation of T cell responses to pathogens.

Edward Schwarz
Research Interest: Inflammatory bone loss as seen in rheumatoid arthritis, infections, tumor metastasis and wear debris induced osteolysis around prosthetic implants

Ruth Serra-Moreno
Research Interest: Studying the mechanisms by which Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and its close relative Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) circumvent the barriers of the innate immunity in their respective hosts and cause Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

Toru Takimoto
Research Interest: Molecular Mechanisms of Paramyxovirus Infection, Replication and Assembly

Juilee Thakar
Research Interest: Systems approach utilizing bioinformatics, and dynamic modeling tools to study immune response to infections and vaccination.

David Topham
Research Interest: Multiple roles of virus-specific Band T cells in determining the outcome of viral infection of the respiratory tract. Long term protective effect of immunological mechanisms.

Brian Ward
Research Interest: Molecular Mechanisms of Poxvirus Envelope Formation

Rachel Wozniak
Research Interest:

Pathogenesis of bacterial corneal infections and novel antimicrobial drug discovery

Felix Yarovinsky
Research Interest: Innate immunity, Host-microbial interactions, Immunoparasitology, Mucosal immunology

Yiping Zhu
Research Interest: Working with retroviruses (HIV-1, MLV, etc.) and focuses on identifying new host antiviral factors and deciphering viral antagonism of host defense