Infectious Disease & Immunity

The Infectious Diseases program is focused on the elucidation of pathogenic mechanisms to common and emerging respiratorypathogens.The program includes scientists with expertise in microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, systems biology, and pathology. The research areas include studies at the molecular, cellular, physiologic, and whole organism level. 


The current focus of the program includes:

  • Development of unique animal models for the study of pathogenesis, vaccine testing, and novel therapeutics
  • Epithelial-pathogen interactions leading to a molecular elucidation of epithelial dysfunction and disease
  • Pathogen-encoded genetic determinants of disease and host evasion.
  • Systems biology approaches for the elucidation of networks in disease and immune function
  • GLP & GMP capabilities in support of IND and NDA studies

Current studies in the Infectious Disease Program include seasonal and potential pandemic influenza, emerging coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV, paramyxoviruses, (RSV, LMPV & PIV)  adenoviruses, rhinoviruses, and hemorrhagic fever viruses such as hantaviruses. Studies of bacterial pathogens include Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcal, and Staphylococcal, B. anthracis, F. tularensis, Y. pestis as well as other recognized biothreat agents.

The Infectious Disease Program is authorized to work with a number of CDC Select Agents and currently performs studies of NIH category A-C pathogens, including studies of aerosolized pathogens in CDC-approved BSL-3+ and ABSL-3+ facilities.

Experimental Capabilities:

  • Viral pathogen culture facility for large-scale (>1010 pathogens assay) viral production and purification
  • Viral and bacterial killing and clearance assays using standard titer assays, as well as PCR-based and immunofluorescence assays
  • High-resolution histopathology, morphometry, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry with epithelial cell markers for distinct lung cell populations
  • Gene expression arrays for both novel host response and viral gene analysis
  • Proteomics strategies for elucidating novel antiviral factors in the lung airway fluid
  • Full-scale immunologic capabilities, including five-color FACS