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Promoting Innovation Through Collaboration

Research and training focused on diagnosis, treatment, prevention and clinical management of infectious disease, cancer, and metabolic and genetic disorders.

The Drexel University College of Medicine Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease is a collaborative inter-campus enterprise focused on research, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and clinical management of infectious disease, cancer, and metabolic and genetic disorders.

The institute guides the development of collaborative research programs that will be competitive for extramural research and training support. The institute also provides an organized framework to guide the development of inter-campus, inter-college and inter-unit research initiatives across the College.

Upcoming and Recent Events

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.

Workshop Series on Molecular and Translational Medicine

Check back for the 2021 dates for the Workshop Series on Molecular and Translational Medicine.

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Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease Seminars

The current semester's research seminar schedule is now available:

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News and Announcements

Kayla Socarras, PhD M&I ’22 Receives T32 Award

Kayla Socarras, PhD microbiology & immunology ’22 and postdoctoral associate at the Translational Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT received a T32 award from the Mass General Brigham Training Program in Precision and Genomic Medicine.

Work In Early Lyme Detection Wins LymeX Diagnostic Prize

A team led by Mary Ann Comunale, EdD, MS, is a recipient of the Phase 1 LymeX Diagnostic Prize sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Steve & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. Read more.

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 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

April 20, 2022: 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 (

Congratulations on Successful Thesis Defense

On April 23, 2021, Kaytie Innamorati successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Comparative genomics of the keystone mucosal pathogens Porphyromonas gingivalis and Gardnerella vaginalis reveal associations between virulence phenotypes and phylogenetic structures.”

On March 31, 2021, Haley Majer successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Natural Product Discovery of Thiopeptide Producers and Functional Characterization of Adenylation-Domains in Thiostrepton and Siomycin Biosynthesis.”

August 2020 Karabots Junior Fellows Outreach Initiative

Department of Microbiology and Immunology students and staff have completed another outreach initiative with The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Karabots Junior Fellows. The Junior Fellows are high school students and Philadelphia residents with an interest in health care or medicine, who will be the first in their immediate family to graduate with a higher education degree, and who qualify for free or reduced lunch. The graduate students designed and implemented a three-session program that discussed the need for a cohesive and well-planned national pandemic strategy. The discussions focused on: the role of health care providers and epidemiologists; biostatistics and the creation of databases; the role of biomedical researchers in targeted therapies and vaccine development; and the need for honest and scientifically correct communications between those working to mitigate a pandemic as well as dissemination of information to the public. Participants included Dr. Mary Ann Comunale, Jennifer Conners, Elijah Davis Rachael, Erlich Mohamed Hager, Dr. Ogan Kumova, Teresa LuPone and Kayla Socarras.

Discovery Day 2019

November 7, 2019: Students and professional staff from the Ehrlich, Beld, and Mell Labs, including Jocelyn Hammond, Hayley Majer, Danielle Piazza and Amanda Platt, presented posters at the 2019 Discovery Day at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Discovery Day is an all-day annual event of intellectual pursuit and discovery, which is organized to celebrate the basic and clinical research accomplishments of the graduate, medical and undergraduate students, clinical research coordinators, postdoctoral fellows, and residents and fellows affiliated with the College of Medicine.

  • Jocelyn Hammond, MS, a research associate at the Center for Advanced Microbial Processing (CAMP), presented her poster, “Supragenome-wide Association Study in NontypeableHaemophilus influenzae Reveals Role for Polyamine Metabolism and pH Homeostasis in Otitis Media.”
  • Haley Majer, a PhD candidate in the lab of Joris Beld, PhD, presented her posted, “Whole Genome Sequencing of Actinomycetes Isolates Reveal Gene Clusters that Encode Potent Antibiotics.”
  • Danielle Piazza, a PhD candidate in the lab of Joshua Chang Mell, PhD, presented her poster, “Detecting Genetic Events without Genetics: Direct Visualization of Genome-Wide Recombination in a Pathogenic Bacterium by Optical Mapping.”
  • Amanda Platt, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the lab of Joris Beld, PhD, presented her poster, "Understanding protein-protein interactions in natural product biosynthesis using a small synthase."

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Brian Wigdahl, PhD

Brian Wigdahl, PhD
Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine & Infectious Disease