University of Nebraska Medical Center

Immunology, Pathology & Infectious Diseases Research Areas

The Immunology, Pathology & Infectious Disease doctoral program emphasizes molecular biological, immunological, and genetic mechanisms of disease, while actively combining clinical and applied research with basic research interests. The mission of the program is to conduct the best possible research and provide the most rigorous and inspiring training in the areas of microbiology, pathology, immunology, neuroimmunology, host-pathogen interaction, and related fields. This diversity of research interests offers students distinctive and highly individualized opportunities for graduate training.

Immunology research focuses on understanding immune responses as important mediators in many common disorders including, metabolic, neurodegenerative, autoimmune, cardiovascular and neoplastic diseases; and developing novel diagnostics and immunotherapeutics. Students will be able to work together with a multifaceted research team with interests ranging from autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, oncology, hematology, metabolic disorders, and infectious diseases to neurologic dysfunction.

Infectious disease research encompasses multiple areas, including an interdisciplinary team from the Center of Staphylococcal Research (CSR) that studies bacterial pathogenesis and metabolism, mechanisms of biofilm formation, and mechanisms of biofilm immune evasion, HIV pathology, and antibacterial drug development. Students will participate in investigations of microbes and their interactions with various host systems, having a tremendous impact not only for the health of humans, but also for the health and welfare of global ecosystems.

Molecular pathogenesis research focuses on functional genomics, cancer biology, signal transduction, and targeted therapeutics. Students will be able to work with an interdisciplinary team from the Center for Leukemia and Lymphoma Research (CLLR), a renowned UNMC group that provides excellent patient care and treatment, innovative clinical and translational research, and graduate training.

Research Interests

Immunology and Disease

  • Mechanisms of host immune impairment in infectious diseases
  • Host-pathogen interaction
  • Mechanisms of autoimmune diseases
  • Immune aspects of lysosomal storage diseases
  • Metabolism and immunity
  • Vaccine therapy for cancers
  • Host- tumor interactions
  • Alcohol effects on innate immunity
  • Cytokines for adjuvant activity for vaccines
  • Cytokine therapy in autoimmune diseases such as diabetes
  • Role of inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases
  • Microglial/macrophage modulation of neural activity
  • Psychoneural regulation of the immune system
  • Cytokine receptor function in the CNS

Molecular Pathogenesis

  • Functional genomics, lymphoma and leukemia
  • Pathogenesis of lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma, initiation, development, and relapse
  • Targeted therapy in lymphoma and leukemia
  • Functional role of miRNA in lymphomagenesis
  • Signal transduction in lymphomagenesis
  • Epigenetic alterations in malignant lymphoma
  • Gene expression profiling and next generation sequencing studies in lymphomas

Infectious Disease

  • Host/pathogen interaction and pathogenesis
  • Bacterial biofilm development
  • Microbial metabolism
  • Antimicrobial development
  • Mechanisms of HIV pathology
  • Enterovirus receptor interactions