Microbiology (Ph.D.) Program Details

Degree Requirements   

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Dissertation 
    ❱   Final oral examination/Dissertation defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   Cellular and molecular biology
    ❱   Immunology
    ❱   Pathogenic microbiology
    ❱   Virology

Research Areas & Interests

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Investigations of viral infection and virus-host interactions 
  • Cellular and molecular biology and cancer metastasis
  • DNA sequence variation and its interaction with the environment in the causality, treatment, and prevention of health disparities disproportionately affecting African Americans 
  • Bacterial genetics and bacterial pathogenesis 
  • Investigations of polymorphisms in genes underlying innate and acquired immune responses and their associations with health disparities
  • Genetic variations in neurotransmitter receptor genes and certain behaviors such as addiction and aggressiveness
  • Cellular and molecular biology and cancer metastasis
  • Genetic epidemiology of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes 
  • Viral replication and viral genetics, including HIV and CMV immunogenetics
  • Immunopathogenesis of malaria, sickle cell disease, and schistosomiasis 
  • Hemoglobin binding proteins and bacterial gene regulation

Research Subfields

Cellular and Molecular Biology

Students can pursue research interests utilizing molecular biological techniques. Specific faculty research interests are in three areas: (a) cellular and molecular biology and cancer metastasis, (b) human molecular genetics, anticancer agents, and cell biology, and (c) analysis of connective tissue protein gene expression.


Students can pursue research in (a) immunochemistry, (b) immunogenetics, genetic epidemiology of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes, and (c) cellular immunology.

Pathogenic Microbiology

Students may pursue research in (a) medical mycology, (b) immunopathogenesis of malaria, sickle cell disease, and schistosomiasis, (c) immunology of human breast milk, (d) identification of antimicrobial constituents of plant extracts, and (e) molecular biology and medical bacteriology, gene cloning and vaccine studies, hemoglobin binding proteins and bacterial gene regulation.


Students may pursue research in the characterization of viral pathogenesis caused by CMV, HIV, Ebola virus, viral replication, and viral genetics, including HIV and CMV immunogenetics.

Program of Study*


MICR 300   Biology of Pathogens I

MICR 303   Biology of Pathogens II

BIOC 101   General Biochemistry 

BIOC 203   Biochemistry Lab

MICR 307   Virology

MICR 305   Cell Biology

MICR 304   Cellular and Molecular Immunology 

BIO 720   Molecular Biology

BIO 430   Biostatistics


MICR 417 Seminars 


MICR 228 Special Topics 

Research in Microbiology


*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Admitted students may be eligible to compete for Graduate School competitive awards, which provide tuition remission and a stipend during the academic year. Additionally, graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants). Please see the Funding website for more detailed information.