Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Molecular Immunology & Microbiology Research

Student at machine smiling in lab coat


Student smiling

The Molecular Immunology & Microbiology (MIM) discipline of the Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) Graduate Program provides graduate students with a comprehensive interdisciplinary foundation in biomedical studies that is to excel in our 21st century world of translational science, and to advance into future careers in biomedical research and education.

Although the primary research focus of the IBMS MIM discipline is in areas of fundamental molecular, cellular, and systems studies of the host’s immune system, the great breadth and diversity of basic science and clinical research opportunities at UT Health San Antonio is unique to an integrated health science campus such as ours. Thus, this rich research environment is perfectly suited for the Ph.D. student who seeks unique training experiences in research areas involving both health and disease, and that bridge the basic sciences with clinical science. 

More specifically, the MIM discipline considers aspects of immunology related to host defense against microbial infections and to the development of vaccines that enhance those defenses, and to the developmental and genetic processes that lead to effective healthy immunity, and to a better understanding of instances when the immune system fails us, such as in autoimmune diseases, allergy and cancer. Research to explore these biomedical problems is performed in spacious, newly renovated labs with state-of-the-art equipment, complemented by numerous departmental facilities designed for studies requiring confocal microscopy, nucleic acid sequencing and analysis, flow cytometry and infectious tissue culture. 

We are a dynamic, seasoned, well-funded group of faculty scholars. Although the MIM discipline research faculty, dissertation mentors of our Ph.D. students, is composed of members of multiple basic science and clinical departments, the majority of the MIM discipline faculty are also members of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics (MIMG). Importantly, 8 new tenure-track faculty have recently been added to our roster of nearly 60 primary and adjunct faculty giving us the necessary expertise to create a program of study and research projects tailored to the interests of each individual student in the MIM discipline. Together with our research faculty, the halls of our department are bursting with the energy of our Ph.D and M.S. students, as well as undergraduate trainees and post-doctoral fellows. Go to “Academics” to review how we prepare students for their research endeavors.

Lab equipment
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics hallway sign
Empty lab with equipment

Recently awarded grants:

  • Dr. Paolo Casali, chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics (MIMG), was awarded a Training Grant (1 T32 AI138944-01) from the National Institutes of Health for the Graduate Research in Immunology Program (GRIP). Exceptional MIM discipline graduate students are selected for financial support of their research activities via this mechanism. It is noteworthy that selection for a position on the Training Grant is a great honor and provides an important addition to a student’s Curriculum vitae. Click here for more information.

Research grants awarded this past year:

  • Dr. David Kadosh was recently awarded NIH R21 grant “Regulation of Protein Synthesis During the C. albicans-Macrophage Interaction”
  • Dr. Paolo Casali was recently awarded a 5-year NIH R01 grant “Intrinsic B cell epigenetic regulation of antibody and autoantibody responses by Sirt1” from NIAID for $2,384,804 total award costs
  • Dr. Guangming Zhong was recently awarded NIH R21 grant “Gut Microbiome and Chlamydia pathogenicity in the upper genital tract”
  • Dr. Nu Zhang was recently awarded an American Cancer Society – Research Scholar Grant “Stroma and T cell interaction controls Tcf1 + CD8 T cells in tumor immunity”
  • Dr. Thirumalai Kannan was recently awarded NIH R01 grant “Unique ADP-ribosylating and vacuolating properties of Mycoplasma pneumoniae CARDS toxin trigger airway inflammation and disease progression.”
  • Dr. Alexei Tumanov was recently awarded a Morrison Trust grant “Crosstalk between nervous and immune system in in intestinal inflammation”
  • Dr. Peter Dube was recently awarded a Basic and Clinical Science Pilot Program grant “Evaluation of preclinical models for neo-antigen based cancer vaccines”
  • Dr. Ann Griffith’s graduate student, Sergio Cepeda was recently awarded an HHMI Gilliam Graduate Fellowship grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
  • Dr. Guangming Zhong was recently awarded NIH R01 grant “In vitro passages to accumulate mutations in non-essential genes for identifying in vivo virulence factors”