Alejandro Aballay, Ph.D.

The Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology comprises a cadre of interactive and interdisciplinary faculty with diverse expertise. The overall mission of our department involves research and education, while bringing together basic and translational efforts through close collaborations.

-Alejandro Aballay, Ph.D.

Read full welcome message here.

Welcoming new faculty

Bahareh Ajami, Ph.D.

Please join us in welcoming Bahareh Ajami, Ph.D., as an assistant professor, to the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of Behavioral Neurosciece, as of September 2019. Dr. Ajami’s research is focused on advancing understanding of the function and biology of the brain’s intrinsic immune cells: microglia. 
Her previous work has established the fate and origin of microglia in the brain during health and disease. In her most recent work, by adopting a novel single-cell proteomics approach, CyTOF (mass cytometry), Dr. Ajami has demonstrated that microglia are a network of cells comprised of several subpopulations with distinct immune responses in different neurological disorders. This work has resulted in the discovery of a new therapeutic target for Multiple Sclerosis and ALS disease and has recently been licensed by a biotech company for further development. Read full introduction.

Isabella Rauch, Ph.D

The Molecular Microbiology & Immunology department is pleased to welcome Isabella Rauch, Ph.D., as an assistant professor starting in January 2019. During her research career, Isabella explored innate immunity in barrier tissues such as the skin and the intestine. In her most recent postdoctoral work she described a defense mechanism that is activated in intestinal epithelial cells upon cytosolic detection of pathogens by sensors called inflammasomes. In her lab, she plans on studying this fascinating response and its role in infection, in more detail. Welcome, Isabella! Rauch Lab

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Congratulations to the Lind Lab on their new publication entitled “Reversible suppression of T cell function in the bone marrow microenvironment of acute myeloid leukemia.” It was accepted in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Congratulations to Dr. Eric Barklis on getting a new MRF grant entitled “Analysis of HIV-1 Gag-Envelope Protein Interactions.”

Congratulations to Dr. Fikadu Tafesse on receiving a new R01 grant entitled “Determining the role of sphingolipids in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.”

We are very proud to announce that two MMI Professors, Scott Landfear and Mike Riscoe, have been elected to the American Academy of Microbiology - the honorific society of the American Society for Microbiology.  This is a richly deserved honor and celebrates Dr. Landfear’s work in the field of molecular parasitology, which he helped pioneer in the early 1980s. The award also recognizes Dr. Landfear’s extensive work on nutrient uptake pathways in Leishmania (as well as trypanosomes and Plasmodium), with particular emphasis on glucose and purines.   This prestigious honor recognizes Dr. Riscoe’s pioneering work with an innovative high-throughput screening approach to discover novel antimalarial drugs. The accolade also recognizes Professor Riscoe’s current work to establish the use of a compound not only as an antimalarial drug but also as a prophylactic therapeutic, which highlights the importance of his research for public health.

Congratulations to Dr. Bill Messer and the Messer Lab on receiving a new R01 grant entitled "Long term immunity following yellow fever vaccination.”

Congratulations to Iris Jones, awarded the NIH Individual Fellowship – F31 Grant!

Congratulations to Sam Hobbs for receiving a fundable score on his F31 NRSA Fellowship.

Congratulations to Jeff Nolz, Ph.D., on his promotion to associate professor! This career milestone is a testament to his accomplishments and to his trajectory in investigating the mechanisms of T cell trafficking, activation, function and differentiation.

Congratulations to Rosenzweig Lab! The lab has been awarded with NIH R01 funding, and Ruth Napier, Ph.D., has been awarded with the VA Career Development Award. 

SOM News: Leadership team selected for new Ph.D. Program in Biomedical Sciences.

View our news archive to see more department news and recognitions.

NIH Training Grant

‘Interactions at the Microbe-Host Interface’ NIH supported T32 training grant.

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For grad or undergrad students with strong interest in research careers.