Cell & Developmental Biology
Cellular & Molecular Biology
Genetics and Genomics
Health Infrastructures & Learning Systems
Microbiology & Immunology
Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Molecular & Cellular Pathology
Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Microbiology & Immunology
Enriching the scientific community
General research areas include:
- Viral pathogens
- Bacterial pathogens
- Eukaryotic pathogens
- Innate immunity
- Adaptive immunity
- Cell biology of infection
- Microbial ecology
- Human microbiome
- Microbial epidemiology
- Computational modeling
We strive to understand the mechanisms by which viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites cause damage and disease in the infected host. Conversely, we also explore the pathways by which the host immune response overcomes these infections. These studies are carried out in the laboratories of 25 primary faculty, 16 joint faculty and 11 research-track faculty who receive substantial research grant support from the NIH and other funding agencies to perform this important research.
Our faculty use state-of-the-art approaches such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, computational analyses, molecular and structural biology, quantitative microscopy and an array of immunologic assays and novel animal models. These efforts are supported by the outstanding core facilities at the University of Michigan and many collaborations established across our research-intensive university.
Creative and innovative research and learning are the hallmark of our graduate program in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. This ambitious program is designed to provide graduate students with the guidance to develop and express their intellectual interests, research talents, public speaking abilities and teaching skills. These goals are accomplished through an integrated program of independent research, graduate courses, seminars and teaching.
Required coursework includes immunology, virology and microbial pathogenesis and a choice of biochemistry, cell biology or genetics. Elective courses are designed to diversify knowledge, build skills, and teach critical thinking. Annual participation in our graduate seminar series hones public speaking skills and offers a chance to receive feedback on dissertation research outside of your dissertation committee.
Checkpoint One (at the end of year one) tests broad knowledge and critical thinking skills, and is required for advancement to candidacy. This exam is based on knowledge and understanding of assigned primary literature articles in two of three possible areas and your ability to identify experimental next steps. Checkpoint Two is the first dissertation committee meeting consisting of an oral presentation of the student’s Ph.D. dissertation plan along with a written proposal.
Following the first committee meeting, students meet every 6-12 months with the dissertation committee to receive critical feedback and advice on completing a scholarly body of work worthy to constitute the dissertation. Our program requires that one primary research article be accepted prior to graduation.
Our one-term teaching requirement builds teaching and mentoring skills through introductory lab or lecture courses. Additional opportunities are often available for students who enjoy teaching and seek more experience.
Expected Length of Program
This program is designed to require approximately five to six years for completion.
Our faculty and students, as well as the abundant resources available throughout the medical school, make the Department of Microbiology & immunology at the University of Michigan an exciting and supportive environment for academic research training.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) activities are at the forefront of our department, with activities led by faculty, staff and students. We continue to add new activities and programs as suggested by a committee of graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, staff and faculty.
Collectively, we enjoy:
Tea @ 3, Tuesday afternoons in Winter
Invited speaker seminars and lunches including our student-invited and DEI seminar series
Annual department picnic and biannual departmental retreat
Journal Clubs in Microbial Pathogenesis, Virology, and Immunology
Weekly newsletters that highlight current student news along with other departmental information and university-wide offerings
Multicultural social gatherings and holiday events
Community service opportunities
After-hour social events (pizza and ping-pong, bowling, happy hours)
Occasional movie nights
More student-specific activities include:
Peer-to-peer mentoring program for incoming students
Organization of Microbiology & Immunology Students (OMIS), graduate student leadership
Opportunities to travel to scientific conferences
Opportunities to participate in a wide variety of student organizations
Faculty-Student mentoring workshops
Career and professional development programming
Internal grants, travel awards and dissertation awards
Student representatives attend faculty meetings and their voice carries weight in the department
Our department graduates approximately 7 PhD students per year. Students generally have opportunities to pursue their preferred interests following graduation. As a snapshot, 74% of recent graduates chose postdoctoral fellowships, 6% immediately entered business or industry and 20% sought employment in other sectors including scientific writing, teaching, or consulting, among others. By 5 years post-graduation, 13% enter faculty positions, 18% enter industry or business, 39% remain in training and 30% have found employment in other sectors such as those mentioned above.
Learn more about the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.