Computer modeling of Herpes Simplex Virus capsid without its DNA. Capsomers can be seen on the outer surface while the inner surface can be seen to be smooth. Each capsomer has a channel in the center that connects the outside and inside of the capsid, otherwise the capsid is sealed. Color is added as a depth cue. Courtesy of Dr. Jay Brown.

Research in Microbiology at UVA spans the fundamental molecular processes of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites of major importance to human health.

Many fundamental biological processes have been uncovered through the study of bacteria, viruses and eukaryotic unicellular microorganisms, and these studies have also revealed mechanisms by which infectious agents cause disease. Our students and faculty examine how microbes replicate, invade the host cell, colonize the host and interact with the immune system.  To this end we use state-of-the-art experimental approaches drawn from the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, structural biology, cell biology, physiology, cellular and sub-cellular imaging, genomics and bioinformatics.

The microbiology research community at UVA spans multiple basic science and clinical departments.  It features numerous laboratories that are engaged in highly interactive and collaborative research, with many researchers sharing authorship on high-profile publications.  Our research findings provide insights into basic biology and also provide foundations for translational applications, such as vaccine development and new therapeutic approaches for treating infections.

The robust educational opportunities available include specialized coursework, laboratory rotations, journal clubs, and weekly seminars highlighting the work of trainees as well as that of internationally renowned scientists.

Training in Microbiology at UVA equips our graduates to pursue diverse career options, including postdoctoral positions in academia, as well as jobs in government, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, collegiate teaching, public policy, consulting and patent law.


  • Herve Agaisse
    Genetic approaches, cellular and molecular biology of intracellular pathogen infection
  • Jayakrishna Ambati
    Understanding the Molecular Basis of Macular Degeneration in Order to Hasten the Eradication of Blindness
  • Timothy P. Bender
    Regulation of gene expression during lymphocyte development
  • Amy H. Bouton
    Signaling Pathways and Breast Cancer
  • David L. Brautigan
    Protein Phosphorylation in Cell Signaling
  • Michael G. Brown
    NK Cells and Viral Immunity
  • Jay C. Brown
    Structure and Assembly of the Herpes Simplex Virus Capsid.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Loren D. Erickson
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of B lymphocyte function; Genetic susceptibility in systemic lupus erythematosus; Immunotherapeutics in the treatment of B cell disorders
  • 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.
  • Jay W. Fox
    Basement Membrane Structure and Metalloproteinases
  • Andreas Gahlmann
    Bacterial cell biology at the molecular level
  • 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
  • David F Kashatus
    The Role of Mitochondrial Fusion and Fission in Tumorigenesis.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Borna Mehrad
    Regulation of lung inflammation and antimicrobial immunity
  • Robert K. Nakamoto
    Structure-Function of Active Transporters
  • Jason Papin
    Systems biology, infectious disease, cancer, toxicology, metabolic engineering
  • Lucy F. Pemberton
    Nuclear Transport in Chromatin Assembly and Transcriptional Regulation
  • 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
  • Kodi S. Ravichandran
    Apoptotic cell clearance mechanisms in health and disease
  • David M. Rekosh
    Human Immunodeficiency; Virus Gene Expression
  • Melanie Rutkowski
    Influence of commensal microbes on immune homeostasis, anti-tumor immunity, and metastasis
  • M. Mitchell Smith
    Functional Genomics of Histones, Chromatin, and Protein Acetylation Signaling in Cancer and the Cell Cycle
  • Lukas K. Tamm
    Biomembrane Structure and Function; Cell Entry of Enveloped Viruses; Neurosecretion by Exocytosis; Structure of Bacterial Pathogen Membrane Proteins; Lipid-Protein Interactions
  • Judith M. White
    Virus Entry into Cells: Mechanisms and Development of Anti-Viral Therapeutics
  • Judith A. Woodfolk
    Cellular and molecular mechanisms of allergic disease in humans.
  • Steven L. Zeichner
    Pathogenesis of infectious diseases and the development of new therapies and vaccines for infectious diseases and cancers.