Microbiology and Immunology are disciplines that are key to our understanding of basic life processes and to our quest to improve human health. One has only to consider some of the most important public health problems to realize the relevance of these two fields to modern medicine: there is no cure for many of the major diseases such as AIDS and cancer; as many as one in five young adults in this country may be infected with a sexually transmitted virus; and infection by multiple-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis has raised grave concerns in our nation's hospitals. Because we live in a nation with excellent sanitary conditions and have access to high quality health care, many of us are unaware that, world-wide, more people die of infectious diseases than of cancer or heart disease. At a different level, we have yet to understand the intricacies of the immune response, how its components are regulated and how they interact with each other. We have only begun to understand how viruses, bacteria and parasites subvert normal host cellular pathways for their own benefit.
Mary Stenzel-Poore, Ph.D.