Immune Mechanisms Research Group

Immunology is the study of the cells and mechanisms that both humans and animals use to protect themselves from foreign invaders. Sometimes the immune system over reacts to foreign substances and makes us ill (e.g., allergies). Both historically and in modern times, the practice of medicine and the study of immunology are inextricably linked. To understand the complex network of cells, cytokines and chemokines that contribute to a healthy immune system, immunobiologists employ many tools of cellular and molecular biology.

Opportunities for research training in immunology are provided by an interactive group of well funded investigators. Areas of investigation include both human and animal models and range from allergy and inflammation to cancer immunology. Research activities are enhanced by state of the art facilities for molecular analyses, flow cytometry and generation of transgenic animals.

Immunology Faculty in Microbiology & Immunology

  • Guy A. Cabral, Ph.D.
    Viral oncology (herpes virus); Non-A, Non-B hepatitis, the effect of environmental chemicals on virus infections, drugs of abuse and the immune system.
  • Jason A. Carlyon, Ph.D.
    Anaplasma phagocytophilum pathogenesis - adhesion, invasion, intracelluar survival; bacterial subversion of host cell functions; host-pathogen interactions; intracellular bacterial pathogenesis.
  • Daniel H. Conrad, Ph.D.
    Mechanism of immediate hypersensitivity, structure and function of IgE receptors..
  • Deborah A. Lebman, Ph.D.
    The role of alterations in the transforming growth factor beta signaling pathway in the development of upper digestive tract cancers.
  • Masoud H. Manjili, Ph.D.
    Immunotherapy of breast cancer, tumor escape and antigen loss, myeloid-derived suppressor cell.
  • Francine Marciano-Cabral, Ph.D.
    Pathogenic protozoa, parasite-host interactions; parasite-immunology, host resistance mechanisms in protozoan and viral infections.
  • Richard T. Marconi, Ph.D.
    Infectious diseases and host-pathogen interactions: molecular pathogenesis of Lyme disease, replapsing fever and other arthropod borne diseases.
  • Kathleen L. McCoy, Ph.D.
    Immunobiology of antigen presenting cells.
  • Dennis E. Ohman, Ph.D.
    Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa; capsule biosynthesis and role in immune evasion; regulation of virulence gene expression; processing and secretion of proteases; bacterial stress-response.

Affiliate Faculty of Microbiology & Immunology

  • Harry D. Bear, M.D. - Surgical Oncology
    Tumor immunology, suppressor T cells.
  • Gordon D. Ginder, M.D. - Director, Massey Cancer Center
    Regulation of genes critical to blood diseases, cancer and lymphocyte effector function by epigenetic mechanisms and interferons.
  • Chris Kepley, PhD, MBA - Luna nanoWorks
    Using endofullerences for imaging atherosclerotic plaque, brain cancers, and neurodegenerative disease. Developing empty-cage fullerene derivatives into therapies for asthma, allergy and arthritis.
  • Thomas Koertge, M.D., Ph.D. - Periodontics
    Immunology of periodontal disease, secretory immunology.
  • John J. Ryan, Ph.D. - Biology
    Molecular immunology, mediators of the allergic response, role of mast cells in allergic disease, effects of the Th2 cytokines interleukin-4 and interleukin-10 on mast cell function and activity.
  • Harvey Schenkein, D.D.S., Ph.D. - Periodonics
    Immunobiology of periodontal disease, complement and inflammatory mediators in periodontal disease.
  • Lawrence B. Schwartz, M.D. - Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology
    Immunology and biochemistry of mast cells, mast cell/basophil differentiation, enzyme biochemistry, immunoassay development, molecular biology, transcriptional regulation of mast cell proteins.

Immunology Courses Offered

  • MICR 505 Immunobiology - A survey of immunobiology as a total host response to foreign agents.
  • MICR 686 Advanced Immunology - Topics in tumor immunology, cell interactions and genetics in the immune response.
  • MICR 607 Techniques in Molecular Biology and Genetics.
  • MICR 605 Molecular Biology and Genetics.
  • MICR 653 Advanced Molecular Genetics
  • Immunology Journal Club - Tumor immunology, cell interactions and genetics in the immune response.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center