Infectious diseases resulting from viruses, parasites, prions, and bacteria are a major cause of human morbidity and mortality. Some important infectious diseases, including HIV, malaria, and hepatitis C are becoming more rather than less prevalent. The threat of emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism also calls for increased research in the area of microbiology, and in fact the NIH is greatly increasing research funding for work on infectious diseases. The recent outbreak of SARS and the continued spread of West Nile virus in North America are but two recent examples of emerging infectious diseases. By studying human pathogens, it is also frequently possible to learn much about normal cell biology, molecular biology, and immunology - infectious agents have long been used as model systems to study important processes.
The University of Pennsylvania has a very collaborative and integrated research program in microbiology involving approximately 60 faculty throughout the campus. The program provides the best graduate training available in the molecular and cellular biology of viral and bacterial pathogenesis and parasitology. The current research interests of the faculty in microbiology and virology encompass a broad range of disciplines including:
-Emerging Infectious Diseases
-Microbial Genomics and Evolution
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Middle States Commission on Higher Education