The Department of Microbiology and Immunology has a vibrant research program in host-pathogen interaction and immune regulation with departmental faculty who are highly dedicated to graduate student training.

Research in the department is concentrated on pathogens that are of substantial clinical importance including Streptococcus pneumoniae, E. Coli, influenza virus, and adenovirus. Many of these pose particular threats for infants and young children.

Areas of Expertise

Faculty with expertise in bacteriology and virology have programs focused on elucidating the mechanisms utilized by pathogens to cause disease, with the ultimate goal of understanding how we might better combat these infectious agents.

The programs of faculty focused on the immune response seek to understand how B cells and T cells are regulated following infection with the goal of promoting a more efficacious response.

Vaccine Development

Because vaccines are the most effective way to limit disease, many faculty in the department have projects centered on the development of improved vaccines. These include pneumococcus, which is responsible for a large percentage of pneumonias.

Vaccination Research at Wake Forest School of Medicine

Dr. Martha Alexander-Miller is developing influenza vaccines that will work in young infants.

Tumorigenesis and Combating Cancer

Faculty with expertise in immunology, cell damage and repair, and virology are also investigating mechanisms of tumorigenesis and ways to combat cancer. Faculty research is focused on harnessing the power of the immune system to treat cancer is broadening our understanding of how cancer-based vaccines, cancer-fighting immune cells, and immunotherapy targeting checkpoint inhibitors might effectively treat malignancies.

Faculty research on oncolytic adenoviruses and their mechanisms of inducing DNA damage is leading to optimized oncolytic viruses for use as anti-cancer therapies. Microbiology and Immunology faculty work in close collaboration with fellow faculty members in our NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center with the goal of leveraging expertise to devise novel and effective approaches to treat cancer.

We invite you to explore our department and contact us with any questions you may have.