Immunology and Microbiology

Essential for life in a world filled with potentially deadly pathogens, the immune system must constantly adapt to attack microbes and tumor cells. Yet, at the same time, the components of the immune system must be highly specific to prevent activation by self-tissue; such self-activation could cause autoimmune disease. This intricate and often precarious balance is fundamental to immunity. The innate immune system is the first and immediate line of defense against pathogens, and consists of complement proteins, cytokines, natural killer cells, phagocytes and antimicrobial peptides. The adaptive immune response develops secondarily, is mediated by antigen-presenting cells and T and B lymphocytes, and has both cellular and humoral responses, the latter of which involve soluble immunoglobulin mediators (antibodies). The immune responses normally lead to elimination of pathogens, but under some circumstances, they can augment disease.

The faculty members with an immunology research focus seek to define and understand how the immune system effectively prevents disease by microbial infection or oncogenic transformation, while at the same time avoids damaging self-tissues. Many are using this knowledge to develop novel and effective disease prevention and therapeutic measures. The students enrolled in the immunology program will gain a thorough understanding of these processes in humans as well as in comparative animal models. The training includes recommended course work and research rotations in the laboratories of associated investigators, in addition to an Immunology Journal Club and weekly Seminars in Immunology hosted by the Institute for Immunology. Student fellowship opportunities are available through several NIH-sponsored training grants.

The Biology of Infectious Disease research interest group encompasses diverse experimental systems, including parasites, bacteria, fungi, viruses and disease vectors.  The faculty members present a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of infectious disease and microbial pathology.  Faculty research involves the study of bacterial pathogens such asBorrelia and Chlamydia, the protozoan agents of malaria, toxoplasmosis and sleeping sickness (PlasmodiumToxoplasma and Trypanosoma), the viral pathogens Dengue virus and HIV, and the tick (Ixodes) and mosquito (Anopheles and Aedes) insect vectors that spread human pathogens that cause malaria, Lyme disease and Dengue fever.

Focus Area Coordinator:  Manuela Raffatellumanuelar@uci.edu

  • Michael Buchmeier, m.buchmeier@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Viral biology and pathogenesis, structural and functional proteomics of viruses, and biodefense related pathobiology
  • Michael D. Cahalan, mcahalan@uci.edu Ph.D., Professor of Physiology & Biophysics
    T cell activation: ion channels, calcium signaling, and gene expression
  • Luis de la Maza , lmdelama@uci.edu, M.D., Ph. D., Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Chlamydia pathogenesis
  • Michael Demetriou, mdemetri@uci.edu M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Molecular biology and glycobiology of T cell dysfunction in autoimmune demyelinating disease
  • Donald Forthal, dnfortha@uci.edu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Interactions between antibodies and Fc receptors and the role of these interactions in preventing, controlling or enhancing infection with HIV and related lentiviruses
  • Anthony A. James, aajames@uci.edu Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Malaria parasite development; genetic manipulation of insect vectors
  • Melissa Lodoen, mlodoen@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Modulation of host immunity by Toxoplasma gondii
  • Naomi Morrissette, nmorrriss@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Genetic, cell biological and structure-function studies of tubulin and microbutules in Apicomplexan parasites
  • Eric Perlmanepearlma@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Ophthalmology and Physiology & Biophysics
    Regulatory role of neutrophils in bacterial and fungal infections
  • Manuela Raffatellu, manuelar@uci.edu, M.D., Associate Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Salmonella pathogenesis; Competition for metal nutrients in the inflamed gut between pathogens and the microbiota
  • Rozanne M. Sandri-Goldin, rmsandri@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Structure and functional analysis of a multifunction herpes virus regulatory protein
  • Bert L. Semler, blsemler@uci.edu, Ph.D, Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Replication of picornavirus RNAs; RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions
  • Albert Siryaporn, asirya@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Bacterial pathogenesis, mechanical signal transduction, and biofilm development
  • Ming Tan, mingt@uci.edu, M.D., Professor of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, and Medicine
    Chlamydia infections: Gene regulation and host pathogen interactions
  • Andrea J. Tenner, atenner@uci.edu Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Innate immunity; the roles of complement and phagocytes in health and disease
  • Armando Villaltaarmando.villalta@uci.edu, Ph.D, Assistant Professor Physiology and Biophysics
    Immune cell and organ system interactions that promote tissue injury and repair
  • Craig M. Walsh, cwalsh@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Apoptotic mechanisms in immune development and homeostasis 
  • Xiangmin Xu, xiangmin.xu@uci.edu Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Organization and function of local cortical circuits (laser scanning photostimulation, optical imaging, molecular genetics)
  • Albert Zlotnik, azlotnik@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Physiology & Biophysics
    Chemokines, cancer metastasis, gene array analysis of human diseases and bioinformatics in immunology

 

Faculty – Secondary Affiliation

  • Angela Fleischman, agf@uci.edu, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biological Chemistry
  • David A. Fruman, dfruman@uci.edu Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in leukemia and lymphoma cells 
  • Paul Gershon, pgershon<a>uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Mechanistic and structural characterization of vaccinia viral proteins, with an emphasis on specific mRNA synthetic and modification enzymes, using mass spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and crystallography
  • Matt Inlay, minlay@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Molecular mechanisms regulating developmental fate decisions in embryonic and adult hematopoiesis in mouse and humans.
  • Rongsheng Jin, r.jin@uci.edu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physiology & Biophysics
    Structure and function of synaptic proteins; neurotoxins and receptors; protein complexes; protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions; X-ray crystallography
  • Haoping Liu, h4liu@uci.edu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry
    MAP kinase signal transduction; dimorphic regulation in yeast
  • Michael McClelland, mmcclell@uci.edu, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
    Evolution of Salmonella pathogenesis; bacterial therapy for cancer; cancer genomics and prognostics.
  • Edward L. Nelson, enelson@uci.edu, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Tumor immunology, dendritic cell biology, and anti-tumor immunotherapeutics
  • Jennifer Prescher, jpresche@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Probing biological systems with chemical tools and noninvasive imaging
  • Katrine Whiteson, katrine@uci.edu, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Metagenomics, metabolomics and community culture models of host-associated microbial and viral communities in health and disease; human microbiome; microbial ecology.
  • Weian Zhao, weianz@uci.edu Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Stem cell engineering and clinical translation, molecular sensors and diagnostics, single-cell analysis and screening, cancer immunotherapy