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 M. Andradermandra1@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Understanding the Redox homeostasis of Toxoplasma gondii to find new therapeutic targets
  • Elizabeth N. Besselizabeth.bess@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Uncovering chemical reactions encoded in the gut microbiome to understand and treat human disease
  • Thomas Burke, tpburke@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    We study bacterial pathogenesis and the host innate immune response to infection. We’re also targeting innate immunity as a strategy to treat cancer.
  • Nir Drayman, nirdra@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & 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
  • Philip L. Felgner, pfelgner@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    The UCI Vaccine R&D Center is supported by the NIH to develop vaccine and vaccine adjuvants for infectious diseases. There is an emphasis on Pandemic Preparedness. The lab is equiped with all of the science, equipment and know-how to construct and test lipid nanoparticle (LNP) vaccines of the kind that are in the COVID vaccines from Moderna and BioNTech. The same mRNA/LNP technology developed for the COVID vaccine is also applicable to gene therapy and gene editing.
  • Don Forthal, dnfortha@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    My laboratory focuses on understanding how antibodies interact with cells bearing Fc receptors (such as macrophages, monocytes, NK cells) and how such interactions affect viral infection. We are interested both in ways that antibodies protect from infection and in ways that antibodies participate in immunopathology.
  • Matthew Griffin, griffin@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Our lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying host-microbiota interactions during cancer progression and treatment.
  • Matthew Arthur Kalani Inlay, minlay@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    The biology, development, and therapeutic use of hematopoietic stem cells in blood and marrow transplantation, and the role of the immune system in graft tolerance and graft-versus-host disease.
  • Orkide Koyuncu, okoyuncu@hs.uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    In the Koyuncu lab, we study virus infections of the nervous system with a focus on local and global changes in neuronal biology during alpha herpesvirus infection
  • Thomas E. Lanetlane@uci.edu, Neurobiology & Behavior
    The focus of the laboratory is to evaluate underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms contributing to neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, and repair in pre-clinical models of neurologic disease.
  • Haoping Liuh4liu@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    We study the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans, Candida-host cell interaction, mechanisms of pathogenesis and drug resistance.
  • Melissa Lodoenmlodoen@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    My research program is focused on the innate immunity, neuroinflammation, and host-pathogen interactions during infection with Toxoplasma gondii.
  • Francesco Marangonif.marangoni@uci.edu,  Physiology & Biophysics
    Study of immune regulation using functional intravital microscopy
  • Matthew Marsdenmdmarsde@hs.uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    My research is primarily focused on HIV cure efforts and involves molecular analysis of latent HIV together with cellular and animal models of HIV infection.
  • Michael McClelland, mmcclell@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    High-throughput genetics, evolution of Salmonella pathogenesis; bacterial therapy for cancer; cancer genomics and prognostic
  • Naomi Morrissettenmorriss@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Tubulin and microtubules, tubulin targeting drugs in protozoan parasites, tubulin mutations
  • Dequina Nicholas, dequinaa@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    We study chronic inflammation in type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Shivashankar Othy, sothy@uci.edu Physiology & Biophysics
    Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Immune Regulation: Decoding Neuro-Immune Interactions, Vaccine Mechanisms, and Mechanosignaling in Immune System
  • Eric Perlmaneric.pearlman@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Innate immunity to pathogenic bacteria and fungi
  • Abraham J. Qavi, aqavi@uci.edu, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Development of innovative diagnostic technologies for (re)-emerging pathogens.
  • Albert Siryaporn, asirya@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Bacterial pathogenesis, host-microbe interactions, antimicrobials, and biofilm development
  • Christine Suetterlinsuetterc@uci.edu, Developmental & Cell Biology
    We are studying the obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which causes wide-spread STI, with focus on its developmental cycle and interactions with host cell organelles.
  • Ming Tanmingt@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Infectious Disease and Bacterial Pathogenesis Research on the intracellular bacterium Chlamydia: focus on gene regulation, 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 Tinoco, rtinoco@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    We investigate T cell immune responses against viral infections and cancers.
  • E. R. Chulie Ulloa, chulie.ulloa@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    We investigate novel therapeutic strategies (e.g., immune-based therapies and drug-repurposing) to treat drug-tolerant or -resistant bacterial pathogens.
  • Armando Villalta, villalts@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    The regulation of immune cell and tissue progenitor interactions in skeletal muscle degenerative and autoimmune disorders
  • Lisa Wagarlwagar@hs.uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics 
    Translational human immunology, adaptive immunity, organoids, vaccines and infectious diseases
  • Craig M. Walshcwalsh@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    T cell tolerance, autoimmunity, stem cells, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease
  • Travis Wilestravis.wiles@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Wiles Lab research focuses on the form and function of microbiomes, the ecology and evolution of antibiotic resistance, and immune sensing of gut bacterial communities.

Faculty – Secondary Affiliation

  • Remi Buissonrbuisson@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    The ongoing research program in the laboratory focuses on unexplored aspects of cellular transcription and translation regulation associated with viral infections and DNA damage.
  • Minji Byun, byunm1@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Epigenetic modulator dysfunction in human developmental and immune disorders
  • Karina S. Cramer, cramerk@uci.edu, Neurobiology & Behavior
    Our lab studies molecular and cellular mechanisms needed for assembly of neural circuits. We are currently focused on axon guidance mechanisms and on the roles of glial cells.
  • Aimee Edingeraedinger@uci.edu, Developmental & Cell Biology
    Understanding endolysosomal trafficking and sphingolipid biology and translating these discoveries into new therapies for cancer, obesity, and other diseases
  • David Frumandfruman@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    The focus of research in the Fruman Lab is targeted therapies to modulate signaling and metabolism in lymphocytes and leukemia 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
  • Celia Gouldingcelia.goulding@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    We are deciphering iron acquisition in Mycobacterium tuberculosis informed by structural and chemical biology, and proteomics. We are also working on contact-dependent growth inhibition systems (CDI), and the structural basis of its mechanism of action.
  • Chris Halbrook, chris.halbrook@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    My lab is primarily focused on understanding mechanisms that support cancer development and resistance to therapy.
  • Allon Hochbaum, hochbaum@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Structural biology and biochemistry of bacterial cytochrome polymers; metabolism and metabolic heterogeneity in bacterial populations and communities.
  • Rongsheng Jin, r.jin@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Structure and function of bacterial toxins and receptors; synaptic proteins; protein complexes; protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions; X-ray crystallography; Cryo-EM
  • Barbara Jusiak, bjusiak@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    My lab combines mammalian synthetic biology and fruit fly (Drosophila) models to study cancer-host interactions and to engineer immune cells against cancer.
  • Young Jik Kwonkwonyj@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Gene therapy, Nanomedicine, Cancer vaccines, Cell therapy
  • Devon A. Lawsondalawson@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    Cellular, molecular and genomic mechanisms of breast cancer metastasis
  • Han Li, han.li@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    Engineering of enzymes and microbes for health, sustainability, and environment.
  • Anthony D. Longtdlong@uci.edu, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
    Population genetics, the genetics of complex traits, the genetics of adaptation, and bioinformatics
  • Ivan Marazzi, imarazzi@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    The Marazzi Laboratory studies epigenetic and chromatin-mediated control of gene expression in the context of the cellular response to pathogens or cellular differentiation.
  • Selma Masrismasri@uci.edu, Biological Chemistry
    Research in the Masri lab is aimed at understanding the relationship between disruption of circadian rhythms and tumorigenesis, with a major focus on immunology, metabolism and stem cell biology.
  • Reggie McNulty, rmcnulty@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Macromolecular assemblies in inflammation and cancer using Cryo-EM and other approaches
  • Haik Mkhikian, hmkhikia@uci.edu, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    We study 1) how glycans regulate cell-surface biology, 2) the dysregulation of glycosylation in immune aging, and 3) the development of new methodologies/tools for glycobiology
  • Benjamin Morehouse, b.morehouse@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    Studying the evolution and diversification of innate immune signaling systems using biochemical and structural methods. Interested in cyclic nucleotides and chemical defenses.
  • Yongsheng Shiyongshes@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Our laboratory studies the mechanism and regulation of mRNA processing in development and in pathogen-host interactions.
  • Katrine Whiteson, katrine@uci.edu, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
    The Whiteson lab studies human associated microbial and viral communities. We use metagenomics, metabolomics, microbiology and bioinformatics to answer questions about how microbes and viruses (especially phages!) affect human health.
  • Xiangmin Xuxiangmix@uci.edu, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics
    Neural circuits, brain diseases, Viral genetic tool development
  • Alvin Yu, alviny6@uci.edu, Physiology & Biophysics
    My lab uses multiscale computational techniques to investigate the molecular mechanisms of disease.