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This is an exciting and rewarding time to begin a career in biomedical research. The pace of scientific discovery is breathtaking. Endless opportunities exist for our graduates as they begin their careers.

Extraordinary research opportunities are available within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and collaborative research units including the Division of Infectious Disease and HIV Medicine in the areas of:

  • Immunology
  • Molecular and human genetics
  • Virology
  • Malarial and bacterial pathogenesis
  • Emerging disease and biodefense
  • Opportunistic infections
  • Experimental therapeutics and diagnostics
  • Neuroscience
  • Cancer biology

 
Continued advances in technology and collaborative interdisciplinary research between basic and clinical scientists will be the key to innovation and new discovery in the next decade. Research conducted within the department will be of tremendous importance to the growing national and international health care needs.

We are committed to understanding molecular mechanisms of infectious diseases within the human population and the development of strategies to prevent and/or treat these acute, chronic, and latent infectious diseases.

The research programs of our faculty are funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of General Medical Science and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

For more information on individual faculty members, their research interests, and training opportunities offered by our outstanding faculty, please explore the department's web page through the links at the left.

 
News and Announcements
 

SAVE THE DATE: 4th Annual Immune Modulation and Engineering Symposium
December 7 - 9, 2022

The only conference dedicated to convergent research in translational immunology and engineering. Our mission is to bring together researchers and leaders from academia, industry, medicine, and government, and to leverage diversity in background, ideas, perspectives, expertise, and approaches, to advance understanding, modulation, and engineering of the immune system for the betterment of human health.
Please note, registration closes Friday, December 2, 2022. Learn more.

National Institutes of Health Grant

Akhil Vaidya, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, College of Medicine, received a three-year, $741,091 grant from the National Institutes of Health for his project “Advancing Fast-Acting Antimalarials That Disrupt Na+ Homeostasis in Parasites.”

Tower Health Research Day

Benjamin Haslund-Gourley won 1st place at the Tower Health Research Day for his talk titled: "Characterizing Aberrant N-Glycosylation During Acute Lyme Disease." His abstract was selected for 1 of 5 talks out of 97 entries. Ben is a third-year MD/PhD student in the lab of Dr. Comunale, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Neil Spector Humanitarian Award

Kayla Socarras, PhD candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology is the 2022 recipient of the Neil Spector Humanitarian Award.

Kayla Socarras, PhD candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, is the 2022 recipient of the Neil Spector Humanitarian Award presented at the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) conference held in Orlando Florida. Kayla has attended the conference since 2015. She presented posters in 2016-2018 and in 2021 and was a speaker in 2019, 2020 and 2022. This year her presentation was titled "Construction of a Dual Borrelia/Borreliella Genera Pangenome for Diagnostics and Therapeutics."

Haslund-Gourley Wins Provost's Award for Best In-Person Oral Research Presentation

Benjamin Haslund-Gourley, MD/PhD student in the Microbiology & Immunology program, won the Provost's Award for Best In-Person Oral Research Presentation for "N-glycans on IgG Reflect Acute Lyme Disease and Treatment Response."

Hep-B Ware Wins 3rd Place

Drexel's Hep-B Ware has won 3rd place for Student Games Presented in the PechaKucha Style at the European Conference on Game-based Learning. Mary Ann Comunale presented the game at the conference that took place on September 23-24, 2021. The game was developed by Drexel co-op student Christopher Dobbins (Game Design and Production 20'). PechaKucha is a storytelling format where the game presents 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each. Download Hep-B Ware on Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.drexel.ducom.hepb1&hl=en_US&gl=US)

Drexel Research Awarded for Potential to Improve Heart and Ear Health in Children

Two Drexel researchers received prestigious Individual Biomedical Research Awards from The Hartwell Foundation to support their work aimed at benefitting the health of children of the United States. Each award includes $100,000 in research funding per year for three years. Read more.

2021 Golden Apple Award Winners Announced

The annual Golden Apple Awards recognize outstanding service and teaching by Drexel University College of Medicine faculty and professional staff. Each class of medical students nominate faculty and professional staff for the honor and vote to determine the award winners. Read more.

September 2020 International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)

Kayla M. Socarras, a Microbiology and immunology PhD candidate, presented a portion of her doctoral research at the annual scientific conference conducted by International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS). The ILADS conference is dedicated to bringing to light the latest scientific advancements in tick-borne diseases diagnostics or treatments. This year the ILADS conference intersection of One Health and Big Data. In this intersection, Kayla presented how her research on the full bacterial complement of the adult, Californian, Ixodes pacificus microbiome. Through understanding the tick microbiome, potential infections/co-infections of traditional tick pathogens as well as previously un-associated tick pathogens could be identified. Additionally, these studies also provide insight for additional diagnostic and therapeutic targets to treat tick-borne diseases with greater efficacy.

September 2020 International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) - Kayla M. Socarras

Upcoming Events

 
In the Media
 

August 17, 2020: Will Dampier, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, was quoted in a Gizmodo story about whether it's possible to get a disease from a toilet seat.

May 27, 2020: Kayla M. Socarrás, a Microbiology & Immunology PhD student and researcher, was quoted in a Men's Health article about how to get rid of ticks this summer. The article was also published by Yahoo.

March 25, 2020: Akhil Vaidya, PhD, a professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and director of the Center for Molecular Parasitology, was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about people stockpiling an anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19.

September 10, 2019: Garth Ehrlich, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology, and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, was quoted in a Grid Philly story about why we're seeing more cases of Lyme disease.

August 23, 2019: Garth D. Ehrlich, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology, and otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, was quoted in an NJ.com opinion article on common myths about Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.

June 13, 2019: A microbiology and immunology research lab that focuses on identifying diseases carried by ticks, led by Garth Ehrlich, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology, was mentioned in a Philadelphia Inquirer story about a similar lab currently being operated at East Stroudsburg University.

April 23, 2019: Kayla Socarras, a Microbiology & Immunology PhD student, was quoted in a Yahoo! Lifestyle story about an impending uptick in bug populations this summer and how to avoid tick bites.

January 3, 2019: Alison Carey, MD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology, was quoted in a Health story about how long cold and flu germs can live on surfaces like doorknobs and subway poles.

November 8, 2018: Garth Ehrlich, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology, was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer story about his research investigating whether bacteria can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

October 22, 2018: "Pivotal moment for NetScientific's Glycotest Inc with $10 million financing"
Technology developed by Drexel University College of Medicine, Department of Microbiology & Immunology for the early detection of liver cancer has received a $10 million in series funding from from Fosun Pharma. Drexel University has licensed the patented technology to Glycotest, Inc. Fosun will receive exclusive licensing to manufacture and sell the Glycotest Inc. HCC Panel, in China.
Related Faculty: Dr. Mary Ann Comunale, Dr. Anand Mehta, Dr. Timothy Block (Inventors)

October 21, 2018: Joshua Chang Mell, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, is quoted in a PNAS Journal Club article about research he did to identify the genetic variations that enable nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) to adapt to life in the lungs of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

April 2018: Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, was quoted in a post on EdSurge about CD4 Hunter, a game created by a group of College of Medicine researchers to teach students about the life and replication cycle of HIV.

April 24, 2018: Akhil Vaidya, PhD, a professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, was quoted in a Science News story on a new genetically-modified plant that may bolster our supplies of antimalarial drugs.

April 15, 2018: Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, was interviewed on an episode of TWiV (This Week in Virology) about "CD4 Hunter," a game created by College of Medicine researchers to teach users about how the HIV virus infects.

August 23, 2017: Garth Ehrlich, PhD, professor in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer story about a project his lab is undertaking to collect ticks from the public and use advanced gene sequencing techniques to study their microbiomes. Dr. Ehrlich’s research study was also quoted in a KYW-Newsradio (1060-AM) on August 26.

July 24, 2017: Carla Brown, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow, was interviewed for a WHYY/Newsworks.org story about "CD4 Hunter," a game created by Brown and researchers in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology that teaches players how HIV infects and replicates in the human body.

May 19, 2017: A Bucks County Courier Times article about the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, which quoted Garth Ehrlich, PhD, a professor in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology, and Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, was picked up by WCAU-TV (NBC-10)'s website.

May 12, 2017: Garth Ehrlich, PhD, a professor in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, was quoted in a Bucks County Courier Times story about the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease.

March 29, 2017: Joshua Chang Mell, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, was quoted in a Cystic Fibrosis News Today story about a recent study he published, which profiled the genes of bacteria commonly found in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.

See all College of Medicine faculty in the Media

 
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Brian Wigdahl, PhD, Chair, Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease

Brian Wigdahl, PhD
Chair, Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease