Research in the Graduate Field of Immunology and Infectious Disease is centered on host-pathogen interactions. At the level of the host, we study innate and adaptive immune responses to viral, bacterial, protozoal, and worm pathogens. We seek to understand the factors that initiate and propagate these responses, as well as the mechanisms that down-regulate and limit the damage brought on by inflammatory disease states. We are particularly interested in how pathogens are recognized, along with the signaling pathways utilized by granulocytes, phagocytes (macrophages and dendritic cells), and B- and T-lymphocytes in the context of infection and autoimmune dysfunction. On the pathogen side, we study infectious agents directly to identify the mechanisms they use to invade, replicate, and spread within human and animal populations including the strategies they use to jump host species barriers. We have particular interest in the pathogenic mechanisms associated a variety of infectious diseases including tuberculosis, influenza, SARS, oral and genital herpes, chlamydia, toxoplasmosis, listeriosis, and trichinosis, to name a few. On a more practical level, we have active programs in vaccine development, high-throughput screening for antimicrobial compounds, and immunotoxicology. We belong to the larger Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Program at Cornell University that offers the PhD degree to qualified students following the completion of an oral examination and thesis defense. We encourage maximum flexibility in terms of course requirements and offer students the opportunity to rotate through laboratories across a broad spectrum of other graduate fields within the BBS Program including Pharmacology; Molecular and Integrative Physiology; Zoology and Wildlife Conservation; and Comparative Biomedical Sciences.
Concentrations: Faculty in the Field can represent one (or more) of following concentrations: cellular immunology; immunochemistry; immunogenetics; immunopathology; infection & immunity.
Funding: The Immunology and Infectious Disease Program only admits students who will be funded for the duration of their program (contingent upon satisfactory performance). An application to the program is considered an application for funding.