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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
 

IIE Honors 2022: IIE Scholar Rescue Fund featuring Dr. Helen Kimbi and Hartley R. Rogers

College of Medicine Team Creates Award-Winning Educational Game

An educational game designed by a team from the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease at Drexel University College of Medicine recently took home a silver medal from the International Serious Play Awards competition in Toronto, Canada. Read more.

ILADEF Neil Spector Award

ILADEF Neil Spector Award was presented to PhD candidate Ben Hasland-Gurley at the 2023 ILADS scientific conference. This award is given to the best scientific presentation of the conference. Ben presented two talks: Immunoglobulin N-Glycans Role in Diagnosing Lyme Disease and Immunoglobulins N-glycans Impare Host Response to Lyme Disease. Ben’s win is the second consecutive win for a Drexel Microbiology & Immunology program. Graduate student Kayla Socarras was awarded the honor in 2022. Prior to the past two years, awardees have been senior investigators with international reputations. Ben is mentored by Dr. Mary Ann Comunale in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology.

VOA Burmese Profile

Michiko Thwe, biomedical engineering PhD candidate, was interviewed about their research in Alzheimer's Disease by VOA Burmese. Watch video on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhmS3HYFoCE&t=14s (အယ်လ်ဇိုင်းမားရောဂါ သုသေသနပြုစုနေသူ).

Van Duuren Fulbright Travel Grant

Keziah Adjei, Molecular Medicine program student, was awarded a Van Duuren Fulbright travel grant to attend America Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) conference in Chicago from October 18 to 22, 2023. Adjei was one of only four recipients this year of this award which provides funds for travel‐related educational expenses to select Fulbrighters studying in the fields of sciences and public health. The America Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), draws tropical medicine and global health professionals representing academia, foundations, government, not-for-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, the military and private practice. The meeting is designed for researchers, professors, government and public health officials, military personnel, travel clinic physicians, practicing physicians in tropical medicine, students and all health care providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health.

CRISPR Cutout™ Game Wins Silver Medal

CRISPR Cutout™

The CRISPR Cutout™ game was awarded a silver medal at the 2023 International Serious Play Award competition in Toronto, Canada. CRISPR Cutout™ is the fourth in a series of mobile educational games developed by the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease. CRISPR Cutout™ introduces the molecular mechanisms of a cutting-edge genome editing technology called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPR. Players create a gene-editing tool to use in a cell to cut out a sequence of HIV DNA. Learn more about CRISPR Cutout™.

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In the Media
 

An Early Test for Lyme. A prize-winning new test for Lyme disease could help doctors make a speedy diagnosis of the tick-borne disease. Exel - Drexel University Research Magazine (2023)

Editing Genes to Cure HIV. Three Drexel scientists are playing instrumental roles in a nationwide quest to conquer HIV using CRISPR gene-editing technology. Exel Drexel University Research Magazine (2023)

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