Microbiology and Immunology

Contact: Dr. Steven Taffet, Interim Chair
Location: 2204 Weiskotten Hall, 766 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210
Phone: 315 464-5453
Fax: 315 464-4417
Website: Microbiology and Immunology Program

This program awards:

  • PhD in Microbiology & Immunology

Major research areas in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology are in diseases caused by viruses and parasites, the host response to infection, and the development and function of the immune system.

A range of viruses are studied, including dengue virus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus and varicella zoster virus.  The focus of virology research is on pathogenesis, gene regulation, molecular interactions between the virus and host cell, antiviral agents, and viral replication as well as cancers caused EBV and KSHV.  Research on malaria and toxoplasma is also conducted.

Immunology research focuses on autoimmune diseases, macrophage function, T cell development, antigen processing and presentation, viral immunity, immunotoxicology and vaccine development. A central theme is understanding how the immune system prevents or causes diseases.

Research is conducted at the molecular, biochemical, genetic and population levels with goals of developing vaccines and therapeutics of infectious diseases.


What's the
SUNY Upstate Difference?

Moffat with student

To Jennifer Moffat, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, it's rooted in two things graduate students learn here—confidence and a sense of the importance of their work

"It's certainly a strong advantage to our students that they have direct access to PIs, and that there are very few post-docs here," said Moffat. "Students move up, and they get the best projects in the lab. It's different from most other schools, where there's a whole layer of scientists above them." Because of their ability to work on major research, students have more opportunities to win travel grants to present at conferences the world over.