PhD in Microbiology & Immunology

The Department of Pathology, through the Division of Microbiology and Immunology, offers a doctorate degree in microbiology and immunology to qualified students. The primary goal of the graduate program in microbiology and immunology is to train students to conduct hypothesis-driven research and to train them for careers as independent scientific investigators. Presently the division faculty utilizes the modern tools available in the disciplines of genetics, biochemistry, developmental biology, microbiology and immunology. The division faculty members in each of these areas are outstanding scientifically, evidenced by their solid publication records and frequent presentations at scientific meetings.

The faculty investigators affiliated with this program are committed to advancing scientific knowledge. Collectively, their basic research efforts are focused on characterizing the molecular and cellular processes that control gene transcription, innate and adaptive immunity, host-parasite interrelationships, and the means by which organisms regulate the uptake utilization and storage of iron and other heavy metals. 

The diversity of research interests present in our program actually enhances the capacity to teach hypothesis driven scientific investigation. It provides students with a broadly based educational experience and teaches them to effectively communicate their particular research experiences to a general audience.


Areas of Concentration:

  • Bacteriology
  • Cell Biology
  • Gene Expression
  • Immunology
  • Microbial Pathogenesis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Stem Cells
  • Virology

This multi-disciplinary approach to post graduate education has distinct advantages towards achieving our overall mission by providing trainees with a breadth of scientific understanding to aid their investigation of complex biomedical and pathologic processes. A successful implementation of this strategy provides the means for the graduates from our program to achieve productive scientific careers.

The vast majority of graduate students affiliated with the division’s degree-granting program were recruited into the Combined Graduate Program in Molecular Biology or the Combined Graduate Program in Biological Chemistry. These are both interdepartmentally based programs that are used by a number of academic departments to facilitate the recruitment of qualified graduate students to Utah and provide these entering students with a stipend for their first year of graduate study.

During this initial year, all students receive a broad-based education in the areas of modern genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry through the didactic courses offered by the combined programs. Our division faculty members contribute significantly to these teaching efforts. First-year students also rotate through at least four research laboratories. The student then selects a mentor/thesis advisor and becomes formally affiliated with the specific graduate program of their mentor’s department. 

For subsequent years, division faculty offer a number of specialized didactic courses in basic and advanced immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and cellular biology. In addition to formal didactic instruction, our graduate students are encouraged to participate in a number of ongoing division activities, including seminar courses, structured laboratory meetings, and special topics courses, which provide students with broad training opportunities that extend beyond laboratory instruction and guidance. Graduate students are required to participate in division journal clubs and research seminars, building cohesion within the division. During their tenure in our program, graduate students become well trained by being provided with numerous opportunities to develop their skills in basic research, communication, and teaching.

Application to the program should be made through the Molecular Biology Program office.

Contact Us

Coordinating Faculty: David Stillman, PhD
Email: david.stillman@path.utah.edu

Supporting Staff: Shannon Ritzman
Email: shannon.ritzman@path.utah.edu

Phone Number: (801) 585-5870
Location: 1100 Emma Eccles Jones Medical Research Building (JMRB)