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.

Featured Videos

Matt Inlay
Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
Molecular mechanisms regulating developmental fate decisions in embryonic and adult hematopoiesis in mouse and humans.

Francesco Marangoni
Physiology & Biophysics
Identify immune regulatory mechanisms within tumors using functional intravital microscopy (F-IVM), and to counteract them to improve the efficacy of immunotherapies

Matthew Marsden
Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
HIV latency and cure approaches


Lisa Wagar
Physiology & Biophysics
How microenvironments within lymphoid tissues regulate the adaptive immune response to infectious diseases and vaccines


  • Rosa Andradermandra1@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Toxoplasma gondii, Entamoeba histolytica,Neglected Tropical Diseases and drug discovery. Clinical Interests: HIV and STD management.
  • Elizabeth N. Besselizabeth.bess@uci.edu, Chemistry
    Uncovering chemical reactions encoded in the gut microbiome to understand and treat human disease
  • Thomas Burke, tpburke@uci.edu, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics My lab focuses on innate immunity, bacterial pathogenesis, and developing novel strategies for activating the immune system to fight cancer
  • Michael D. Cahalanmcahalan@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    T cell activation: ion channels, calcium signaling, and gene expression
  • Michael Demetrioumdemetri@uci.edu, Neurology and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Molecular biology and glycobiology of T cell dysfunction in autoimmune demyelinating disease
  • Nir Drayman, nirdra@uci.edu, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
    Studies how cell-to-cell variability affects viral infection outcomes using technologies such as live-imaging, machine learning, single-cell RNA-sequencing and microfluidics
  • Donald Forthaldnfortha@uci.edu, 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
  • David A. Frumandfruman@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Signaling pathways controlling lymphocyte activation and differentiation
  • Orkide Koyuncu, okoyuncu@hs.uci.edu, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Virus infections of the nervous system, and understanding the molecular mechanisms of alpha herpesvirus (HSV, PRV, VZV) invasion, latency establishment and reactivation in the peripheral nervous system neurons
  • Melissa Lodoenmlodoen@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Innate immunity, host-microbe interactions, and immune evasion by Toxoplasma gondii
  • Francesco Marangonif.marangoni@uci.edu,  Physiology & Biophysics
    Identify immune regulatory mechanisms within tumors using functional intravital microscopy (F-IVM), and to counteract them to improve the efficacy of immunotherapies
  • Matthew Marsdenmdmarsde@hs.uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics HIV latency and cure approaches
  • Selma Masrismasri@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    Cancer and stem cell biology, immune microenvironment, young-onset cancer and circadian clock disruption
  • Naomi Morrissettenmorrriss@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Genetic, cell biological and structure-function studies of tubulin and microtubules in Apicomplexan parasites
  • Dequina Nicholas, dequinaa@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Function and metabolism of immune cells in type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome; Biology of lipid antigen presentation and pituitary macrophages
  • Shivashankar Othy, sothy@uci.edu Physiology and Biophysics
    Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Immune Regulation: Decoding Neuro-Immune Interactions, Vaccine Mechanisms, and Mechanosignaling in Immune System
  • Eric Pearlmanepearlma@uci.edu, Ophthalmology and Physiology & Biophysics
    Regulatory role of neutrophils in bacterial and fungal infections
  • A. Olga Razorenovaolgar@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Internal (oncogenes/tumor suppressor genes) and external (tumor microenvironment)
    factors regulating tumor progression and metastasis.
  • Rozanne M. Sandri-Goldinrmsandri@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Structure and functional analysis of a multifunction herpes virus regulatory protein
  • Bert L. Semlerblsemler@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Replication of picornavirus RNAs; RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions
  • Albert Siryapornasirya@uci.edu, Physics & Astronomy and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Bacterial pathogenesis, mechanical signal transduction, and biofilm development
  • Ming Tanmingt@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, and Medicine
    Chlamydia infections: Gene regulation and host pathogen interactions
  • Andrea J. Tenneratenner@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Innate immunity; the roles of complement and phagocytes in health and disease
  • Roberto Tinocortinoco@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Adaptive Immune Responses; cellular and molecular mechanisms that promote T cell exhaustion during chronic viral infection and cancer
  • Armando Villaltaarmando.villalta@uci.edu, Physiology and Biophysics
    Immune cell and organ system interactions that promote tissue injury and repair
  • Lisa Wagarlwagar@hs.uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics How microenvironments within lymphoid tissues regulate the adaptive immune response to infectious diseases and vaccines
  • Craig M. Walshcwalsh@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Apoptotic mechanisms in immune development and homeostasis
  • Travis Wilestravis.wiles@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Exploring how the spatiotemporal organization of animal microbiomes can be engineered to promote health
  • Xiangmin Xuxiangmix@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Molecular Genetics

Faculty – Secondary Affiliation

  • Steve Allisonallisons@uci.edu, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    Microbial ecology, modeling, and global environmental change
  • Minji Byun, byunm1@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Epigenetic modifiers in the regulation of immune cell function
  • Angela Fleischmanagf@uci.edu, Medicine and Biological Chemistry
    Hematopoietic stem cell biology and leukemia
  • David A. Frumandfruman@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in leukemia and lymphoma cells 
  • Paul Gershonpgershon@uci.edu, 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
  • Allon Hochbaumhochbaum@uci.edu, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
    Biological and bioinspired materials; chemical and biophysical regulation of bacterial biofilms; supramolecular protein assembly
  • Matt Inlay, minlay@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Molecular mechanisms regulating developmental fate decisions in embryonic and adult hematopoiesis in mouse and humans.
  • Rongsheng Jinr.jin@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Structure and function of synaptic proteins; neurotoxins and receptors; protein complexes; protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions; X-ray crystallography
  • Barb Jusiak, bjusiak@uci.edu, Physiology and Biophysics
    Development of anti-cancer gene circuits and immune modulation with synthetic biology in mammalian and Drosophila systems
  • Thomas E. Lanetlane@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Defining the molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to both host defense and disease following viral infection of the central nervous system (CNS)
  • Haoping Liuh4liu@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    MAP kinase signal transduction; dimorphic regulation in yeast
  • Jennifer B.H. Martinyjmartiny@uci.edu, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    Diversity, evolution, and functioning of microbial communities (microbiomes).
  • Ivan Marazzi, imarazzi@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    Epigenetic and chromatin-mediated control of gene expression in the context of the cellular response to pathogens or differentiation
  • Michael McClellandmmcclell@uci.edu, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
    Evolution of Salmonella pathogenesis; bacterial therapy for cancer; cancer genomics and prognostics.
  • Reginald “Reggie” McNultyrmcnulty@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Macromolecular assemblies in inflammation and cancer using Cryo-EM and other approaches
  • Haik Mkhikian, hmkhikia@uci.edu, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
    Understanding the role of glycans in cell-surface biology, autoimmunity, and immunosenescence; Developing new tools/approaches to study glycobiology questions
  • Benjamin R. Morehouse, b.morehouse@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Exploring the evolutionary connections between diverse prokaryotic and eukaryotic immune systems using structural biology and biochemistry approaches 
  • Edward L. Nelsonenelson@uci.edu, Medicine and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Tumor immunology, dendritic cell biology, and anti-tumor immunotherapeutics
  • Jennifer Prescherjpresche@uci.edu, Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Probing biological systems with chemical tools and noninvasive imaging
  • Christine Suetterlinsuetterc@uci.edu, Developmental and Cell Biology
    .Chlamydia cell biology
  • Katrine Whitesonkatrine@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Metagenomics, metabolomics and community culture models of host-associated microbial and viral communities in health and disease; human microbiome; microbial ecology.
  • Alvin Yu, alviny6@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Innate immune sensors, HIV self-assembly, theory and simulation of viral proteins
  • Weian Zhao, weianz@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    Stem cell engineering and clinical translation, molecular sensors and diagnostics, single-cell analysis and screening, cancer immunotherapy