Virology, immunology, oncology, and metabolic diseases are broad research areas being pursued by various members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Penn State College of Medicine at Hershey. The Department provides an outstanding research environment for training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Studies of microorganisms, their interactions with host cells as well as the immune system, are generating knowledge used to conquer human disease and also providing answers to many of the major scientific questions confronting molecular and cellular biologists. Virology, immunology, oncology, and metabolic diseases are broad research areas being pursued by various members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Penn State College of Medicine at Hershey. The Department provides an outstanding research environment for training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Graduates have been highly successful in obtaining postdoctoral positions in leading laboratories at major research centers and establishing rewarding careers as scientific investigators and educators.
Forty-three graduate students are currently studying in laboratories within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. These students are in an environment that encourages excellence and fosters real interactions with members of the faculty, postdoctoral fellows and research staff members. In addition, the graduate student training program is supported in part by a training grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Currently, 16 faculty members have primary appointments within the Department and ten faculty members of other departments (Medicine, Pathology, Pediatrics and Surgery) have joint appointments. Members of the faculty have attained national as well as international recognition for their research endeavors. Evidence for the excellence of the faculty include
- An outstanding record of scientific publications.
- Membership as well as leadership roles on scientific review committees and national advisory panels.
- Appointments as associate editors or on editorial boards of prestigious scientific journals.
- The generation of over six million dollars per year of grant funding to support the scientific programs of the Department.
Most of the research funding is derived from the National Institutes of Health; however, funds are also obtained from the Cancer Research Institute and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International. Research opportunities are available to explore interactions of viruses with host cells and organisms, with emphasis on herpesviruses, adenoviruses, papovaviruses, papillomaviruses, retroviruses, and hepatitis viruses. Individual research programs center on virus replication and assembly, neurovirulence, latency and reactivation, oncogenesis, and the role of the cellular immune response in these processes. Viral systems are also utilized as models for study of eukaryotic gene regulation and the human immune response. In addition, research programs are maintained in the areas of eukaryotic cellular differentiation, tumor cell biology, immunology and human genetics.