- Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program | Infectious Diseases & Biodefense
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (small gram-negative bacteria) are present within neutrophils (large cells with lobular nuclei) that are prevalent in exudates obtained from infected individuals. Neisseria gonorrhoeae uses multiple mechanisms to resist clearance by neutrophils during acute infection. Courtesy of Dr. Alison Criss.
Infectious Diseases and Biodefense Research at UVA provide rich interdisciplinary experiences in infectious diseases research.  Research themes encompass the molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology, and pathogenesis of infectious diseases as well as vaccine development, therapeutics and diagnostic technologies for agents of potential bioterrorism.

The centerpiece of the Infectious Diseases (ID) Training Program is the side-by-side education of predoctoral students, M.D.s, and Ph.D. postdoctoral fellows. Training is enriched by graduate coursework in infectious diseases, research-in-progress sessions, seminar series, and journal clubs that integrate both clinical and basic research aspects of infectious diseases.  It is supported in part by an NIH training grant currently in its 4th decade of consecutive NIH funding.

The Biodefense Research Training and Career Development (BioD) Program was originally developed in response to the NIAID Blue Ribbon Panel on Bioterrorism. The BioD Program goal is to prepare pre- and postdoctoral students for careers in biodefense.  Research projects are consistent with the NIH/NIAID Biodefense strategic plan (www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/biodefenserelated/biodefense), and include the biology of, and host response to, priority pathogens such as Bacillus anthracis, Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, food and water-borne pathogens, and influenza viruses.   Special activities of the BioD Program include graduate courses in biodefense pathogens and policy, microbial pathogenesis, and advanced immunology, research-in-progress and seminar series, and a journal club. State-of-the-art BSL3 and ABSL3 facilities are available to carry out biosafety level three work.

Trainees in ID and BioD have opportunities to conduct research with over 30 different mentors from seven different departments.



  • Herve Agaisse
    Genetic approaches, cellular and molecular biology of intracellular pathogen infection
  • Timothy P. Bender
    Regulation of gene expression during lymphocyte development
  • Thomas J. Braciale
    T Lymphocyte Responses To Virus Infection
  • Michael G. Brown
    NK Cells and Viral Immunity, Genetics of host resistance to viral infection, Immunogenetics, Immune regulation
  • Timothy N. Bullock
    Pathways to enhance T cell function in tumors.
  • James E. Casanova
    Role of Arf family GTPases in vesicular transport and cytoskeleton assembly.
    Cell Biology of bacterial pathogenesis.
    The innate immune response to bacterial infection.
  • Anna Cliffe
    Herpes simplex virus infection of neurons
  • Alison K. Criss
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of Neisserial pathogenesis
  • Isabelle Derre
    Host/pathogen Interaction - Chlamydia Infection
  • Daniel A. Engel
    Drug Discovery and Molecular Biology of Pathogenic RNA viruses: Influenza, Dengue and Ebola.
  • Sarah E Ewald
    Innate immunity, chronic disease, host-parasite interactions
  • Salem Faham
    Structural biology of membrane proteins; Structure/function and structure/stability relationships and the development of new tools for protein crystallization.
  • Richard L. Guerrant
    Recognition, diagnosis, pathogenesis, impact, treatment and prevention of enteric infections; global health and tropical infectious diseases
  • William H. Guilford
    Molecular Mechanics of Muscle Contraction and Cell Movement
  • Jennifer Guler
    Cell Biology and Parasitology.
  • Young S. Hahn
    Immune regulation for HCV infection and chronic liver inflammation
  • Marie-Louise Hammarskjöld
    Post Transcriptional Gene Regulation and the Molecular Biology of Human Retroviruses
  • Tajie H. Harris
    Immune response to infectious disease in the CNS
  • Erik L. Hewlett
    Structure and Function of Bacterial Toxins: Roles in Microbial Pathogenesis and Uses in Biomedical Research
  • Joel W. Hockensmith
    Novel antiprotozoan and anticancer compounds from antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Peter M. Kasson
    Mechanisms of cell entry by influenza; Viral glycan recognition; drug resistance; molecular dynamics simulation; distributed computing.
  • Dean H. Kedes
    Human Herpes virus associated with malignancy, including Kaposi's Sarcoma
  • Melissa M. Kendall
    Mechanisms used by Bacterial Pathogens to Integrate Host- and Bacterial-derived Signals to Sense their Environment, Coordinate Gene Expression, and Cause Disease
  • Mark Kester
    Nanotechnologies for targeted drug delivery
  • Xiaowei Lu
    Developmental regulation of planar cell polarity in the mammalian nervous system
  • John R. Lukens
    Neuroinflammatory disease
  • Barbara J. Mann
    Pathogenicity of Francisella tularensis and vaccines
  • Jason Papin
    Systems biology, infectious disease, cancer, toxicology, metabolic engineering
  • William A Petri
    Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of parasitic infection
  • Owen Pornillos
    Structure and assembly of HIV Virus/host interactions Structural biology of the innate immune system
  • Girija Ramakrishnan
    Iron-uptake mechanisms and Virulence Factors of Francisella tularensis; Microbial Pathogenesis
  • David M. Rekosh
    Human Immunodeficiency; Virus Gene Expression
  • Michele Sale
    Genetics of complex disease
  • Nathan Swami
    Molecular and bioelectric devices; tissue regeneration.
  • Lukas K. Tamm
    Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions
  • Michael P. Timko
    Gene regulation during host-parasite interaction
  • Judith M. White
    Virus Entry into Cells: Mechanisms and Development of Anti-Viral Therapeutics
  • Steven L. Zeichner
    Pathogenesis of infectious diseases and the development of new therapies and vaccines for infectious diseases and cancers.
  • Jochen Zimmer
    Transport of biopolymers across biological membranes with a particular interest in polysaccharide and protein translocation.