Welcome to the Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology program!
Infectious diseases resulting from viruses, parasites, prions, and bacteria are a major cause of human morbidity and mortality. Some important infectious diseases, including HIV, malaria, and hepatitis C are becoming more rather than less prevalent. The threat of emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism also calls for increased research in the area of microbiology, and in fact the NIH is greatly increasing research funding for work on infectious diseases. The recent outbreak of SARS and the continued spread of West Nile virus in North America are but two recent examples of emerging infectious diseases. By studying human pathogens, it is also frequently possible to learn much about normal cell biology, molecular biology, and immunology - infectious agents have long been used as model systems to study important processes.
The Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology program provides students an opportunity to undertake concentrated study in the molecular and cellular biology of viral and bacterial pathogenesis and parasitology. Program faculty conduct research in a broad range of disciplines, including Bacteriology, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Immune Response, Microbial Genomics and Evolution, Parasitology, Tumor Virology, Virology, and Host Microbiome. Viruses, parasites, prions, and bacteria are a major cause of human morbidity and mortality. Disease resulting from HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis are becoming more prevalent. The threat of emerging infectious diseases, such as Zika and West Nile viruses, and bioterrorism also calls for increased research in the area of microbiology. Students study human pathogens, as well as their interplay with host resident microbial populations, learning much about normal cell biology, molecular biology, and immunology, as well as developing strategies for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
The program has an extensive series of seminars designed to not only expose students to the latest and hottest research in microbiology, but to give students an opportunity to present their work to a large and diverse audience. The program feels that it is important for students to gain experience in speaking about their work in public, as this is an important facet of any job in science, and a weekly Tuesday noon seminar with average attendance of approximately 90 faculty, students, postdocs and technicians provides this forum for the virology trainees. Similar seminar series are held for our bacteriology and parasitology students. There's also a Presentation and Communication Review (PCR) monthly series for all MVP students, organized by MVP students, to further strengthen and practice science communication. The Wednesday Microbiology seminar series features prominent scientists from throughout the country and Europe who talk about their latest work in virology, bacteriology, parasitology, and immune responses. As part of this series each semester, there is an Alumni Day when a former MVP program student or postdoc who is now an Assistant Professor at another institution returns to campus to talk about their work and to meet with current students over lunch to talk about their careers. More information on various seminars can be found on the Seminar Series page.