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Immunology and Infectious Disease

The Graduate Field of Immunology & Infectious Disease offers broad training in the areas of innate and adaptive immunity, along with the mechanisms used by pathogens to invade, replicate and spread within human and animal populations. We emphasize the basic principles underlying host-pathogen interactions and the experimental tools required to understand those interactions. We are particularly interested in how pathogens are recognized and eliminated by the host.  This includes the signaling pathways utilized by granulocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, and B- and T-lymphocytes in the context of infection and autoimmune dysfunction. On the pathogen side, we study a wide variety of disease agents (ranging from viruses to bacteria, protozoal, and worms pathogens) in order to identify the mechanisms they use to establish acute and chronic infection in different host species.

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.  In addition to membership in the BBS Program, the Field of Immunology & Infectious Disease participates in the inter-college graduate program in Infection and Pathobiology, which promotes interactions among scholars and students of different disciplines who share common interests in host-pathogen interactions.

A related field of study available at Cornell is Microbiology. This graduate field covers the commensal and symbiotic roles of microbes with animals and plants, pathogens of plants and the basic molecular biology of bacteria and archaea. For more information, click here.


Because the Graduate Field of Immunology & Infectious Disease is a member of the Biological & Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, applicants should follow the BBS application guidelines. For the admissions process, the Field of Immunology & Infectious Disease requires two (2) letters of recommendation.


Hecor Aguilar-Carreno
Hector Aguilar-Carreno

Entry, egress, and interactions of enveloped viruses with host cells, with emphasis on emerging paramyxoviruses, vaccine and antiviral strategies

Douglas Antczak
Douglas Antczak

Pregnancy immunology; immunogenetics; equine immunology

Judith A. Appleton, Ph.D.
Judy Appleton

Immunity to nematode parasites colonizing mucosal sites
Avery August
Regulation of T-cell activation, development and function; regulation of T-cell differentation; regulation of mast cell function; regulation of eosinophil

Dr. Dwight Bowman
Dwight Bowman

Immune response of hosts to parasites; immunodiagnostics; vaccine validation
Margaret Bynoe
Cellular immunology; immunochemistry; immunopathology; infection and immunity; molecular basis of antigen-induced immune suppression and the modulation of the innate immune system response in autoimmune diseases and immunity against cancer

Dr. Pamela Chang
Pamela Chang

Immunity/host, host/microbe interactions; gut microbiome

Yung-Fu Chang
Yung-Fu Chang

Vaccine development; adjuvant and vaccine delivery system; immunopathology of infections disease; molecular basis of bacterial pathogenesis; host defense mechanisms
Theodore Clark
Moleculary parasitology; fish immunology

Dr. Rodney Deitert
Rodney Dietert

Genetic regulation of macrophage function; immnuotoxicity
Tobias Doerr
Tobias Doerr
Cell envelope biology of Gram-negative pathogens; antibiotic resistance; tolerance and mechanism of action; microbial stress responses
Gerald Duhamel
Mechanisms of infectious diseases with particular emphasis on molecular mechanisms of bacterial infections in animal models of human diseases, primarily understanding host-pathogen relationships
Maria Julia Bevilaqua Felippe
Cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in B cell response; neonatal immunology and response to vaccination; immunomodulation using biologic response modifiers; cancer immunotherapy; characterization of primary and secondary immunodeficiencies
Photo of Julia Finkelstein
Julia Finkelstein
Role of iron, vitamin B12, and folate in the etiology of anemia; infectious diseases; adverse pregnancy outcomes

Jerrie Gavalchin
Jerrie Gavalchin

Pathogenetic mechanisms in autoimmunity
David Holowka
Molecular immunology; biophysical chemistry and cell biology

Eric Ledbetter
Eric Ledbetter

Cynthia Leifer
Understanding innate immunity from the inside out; toll-like receptors; signaling; dendritic cells; controlling microbial infection
Dr. John March
John March
Metabolic and signal engineering; biotechnology; biological engineering

Dr. Hélène Marquis
Hélène Marquis

Pathogenesis of listeria monocytogenes; listeria-based vaccines; immunomodulatory function of listeria
Saurabh Mehta
Global health (active research projects in India, East Africa, and Latin America); infectious disease epidemiology, particularly HIV, Tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases; nutritional interventions and nutritional modulation of the immune response 

John S. L. Parker, BVMS, PhD
John Parker

Mechanisms of apoptosis induction by the mammalian reoviruses and regulation; process of infection, entry, and cellular response to feline calicivirus

Colin Parrish, PhD
Colin Parrish

Virus structure, function and evolution using parvovirus and influenza as models for viral emergence and host switching
Brian Rudd
Developmental immunology; host response to infection

Dr. David Russell
David Russell

The biology of intracellular infection, with emphasis on mycobacteria
luis schang
Luis Schang
Role of cellular protein, lipids, and glycans play in viral infection
Kenneth Simpson
Host pathogen interactions in inflammatory bowel disease and helicobacter infection of the gastrointestinal tract
Ankur Singh

Immune-engineering; cancer engineering; lymphoma and hematological malignancies; biomaterials; vaccine and immunotherapy; stem cell engineering; inflammation; micro-nano-bioengineering; cell mechanobiology

Holger Sondermann
Holger Sondermann

Protein structure and function; bacteria pathogensis; biochemistry and biophysics
Jeongmin Song
Jeongmin Song
Elucidating pathogenic mechanism(s) of Salmonella Typhi
Dr. Elia Wojno
Elia Tait Wojno
Explores the immune system when it functions correctly and also when it malfunctions

Dr. Gerlinde Van de Walle
Gerlinde Van de Walle

Alphaherpesvirus pathogenesis; basic biology/immunology of mesenchymal stem cells for regenerative therapy;
mammary gland stem cell biology and carcinogenesis

Daryl Van Nydam
Daryl Van Nydam

Immune response to zoonotic infectious diseases in neonates; immune response interaction with energy balance in periparturient mammals
Dr. Brian VanderVen
Brian VanderVen
Focused on understanding how M. tuberculosis survives and maintains infections in mammals

Bettina Wagner
Bettina Wagner

Antibody structure and functions; immune mechanisms of allergy; neonatal tolerance; immunogenetics; immune reagents for veterinary species
Dr. Gary Whittaker
Gary Whittaker
Viral pathogenesis; virus-bacteria co-infection

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