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The multidisciplinary Microbiology & Immunology (MI) program offers education and training leading to the MS and PhD degrees. The faculty in this program have diverse research interests ranging from the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of infectious agents to the effect of aging on the immune function.

In the first year, students spend most of their time completing required courses in the core curriculum and completing the research laboratory rotation requirements.

Program Requirements

Microbiology and Immunology PhD candidate Jacqueline Schneider Eacret recently won the 3 Minute Thesis competition for her presentation on "Anti-Malaria Vaccines: Multiple Proteins, One Formulation." Learn more about the Three Minute Thesis competition.

All students must successfully complete the core curriculum before advancing to the specific program requirements for their degree. All students must pass a preliminary examination at the end of the first year, while also attending student seminars and journal clubs. Advanced level courses in immunology, genetics, microbial physiology, molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis, mycology and parasitology are offered to interested students in the second year.

PhD candidates must pass a qualifying examination in the middle of their third year and also submit a minimum of two manuscripts (publications from their research) during the course of the program. The average amount of time required to complete the PhD requirements is five years.

For more information, visit the Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Program Guidelines

The following guidelines describe the academic policies and procedures pertaining to graduate study in the Microbiology and Immunology program. The booklet contains current standards that are revised periodically by faculty in the program, procedures and general rules of the Division of Biomedical Science Programs.

Research in Microbiology & Immunology

The Graduate Program in Microbiology & Immunology provides a stimulating environment for our graduate students as they prepare to play leading roles in academic, government, pharmaceutical or biotech research, and in international health organizations. New approaches to the study of basic and applied aspects of microbiological and immunological research have opened new avenues in the study of infectious disease and host defense. Students in the Graduate Program are using these approaches to study microbial pathogenesis and genomics, autoimmune disease, malaria, viral infection and pathogenesis and vaccine development.

The Graduate Program provides interactive broad-based education and research training. Our students receive comprehensive instruction in molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology and immunology, as well as in-depth training in their chosen area of research. Our MS, PhD and MD/PhD students train in the laboratories of participating faculty in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology or with affiliate faculty at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute or the Lenkanau Institute for Medical Research.

Learn more about the research areas of the Graduate Program

Student Achievements

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.

2022 Drexel Emerging Graduate Scholars Conference Awards

Congratulations to Benjamin Haslund-Gourley, an MD/PhD student in the Microbiology & Immunology program, for receiving the Provost's Award for Best In-person Oral Research Presentation at the Drexel Emerging Graduate Scholars Conference. Ben's presentation was "N-glycans on IgG Reflect Acute Lyme Disease and Treatment Response."

30th Philadelphia Infection and Immunity Forum Winners

30th Philadelphia Infection & Immunity Forum Winners (December 14, 2021)

Adam Glass, graduate student (yr-2) in the Microbiology and Immunology graduate program, was awarded 1st Prize Junior Graduate Student for his poster presentation "Investigating Innate Immune Receptors in Macrophage Response to Betacoronavirus Infection" at the 30th Philadelphia Infection & Immunity Forum, organized by the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Teresa LuPone, MS, graduate student (yr-5) in the Microbiology and Immunology graduate program, was awarded 1st Prize Senior Graduate Student for her poster presentation "Zika Virus Infection activates Toll Like Receptor 3 in Primary Human Fetal Astrocytes." Elijah Davis, graduate student (yr-4) in the Microbiology and Immunology graduate program, was awarded 2nd Prize Senior Graduate Student for his poster presentation "Toll Like Receptors dictate Microglia Responses to Beta-Coronavirus infection." Douglas Krauth, graduate student (yr-4) in the Microbiology and Immunology graduate program, was awarded Honorable Mention Senior Graduate Student for his poster presentation "Characterizing the SARS-CoV-2 Novel Accessory Protein ORF8." Adam, Teresa, Elijah and Douglas are mentored by Dr. Sonia Navas-Martin, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel College of Medicine. Benjamin Haslund-Gourley, graduate student (yr-2) in the Microbiology and Immunology graduate program, was awarded 1st Prize MD/PhD Student for his poster presentation "Employing Glycoproteins to Improve Early Lyme Disease Diagnosis." Ben is mentored by Dr. Mary Ann Comunale, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology and Dr. Joris Beld, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology.

Dean’s Travel Award

Congratulations to Jennifer Connors, winner of the Dean’s Travel Award. The Dean’s Travel Award is meant to partially defray the cost of attending a scientific meeting at which a graduate student is making a presentation, or is related to the student’s graduate study.

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