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.