The Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College is a collegial community of microbiologists, virologists, immunologists, molecular biologists and chemical biologists, united by a focus on the host’s interaction with foreign genomes—viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoal and altered-self, that is, neoplastic—and on inflammatory and autoimmune disorders that reflect the price we pay for having evolved to mobilize powerful mechanisms of host defense.
Our 13 primary appointees who are tenured or on the tenure track are joined by 6 research track faculty and 9 research associates. We also enjoy the joint membership of 14 faculty from the Department of Medicine, the Department of Pediatrics, the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Science, the Hospital for Special Surgery, Sloan Kettering Institute and The Rockefeller University. Our joint appointees bring research, expertise and perspectives ranging from epidemiologic studies and clinical trials in Haiti and Africa, to studies of inflammation and immunoregulation, to isolation of novel antibiotic-synthesis gene clusters from uncultured bacteria.
Among the infections most intensively studied in the Department are the three leading causes of death from infectious disease—HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. Other pathogens under study include amoebae and species of Candida.
Our research portfolio is balanced between fundamental and translational research. Basic investigations probe such problems as telomere biology and mRNA capping and splicing. Translational studies range from the development of molecular diagnostics to the generation of vaccines to the discovery of drug candidates.
Interests in translational research have led several members of the Department to become active participants in path-breaking experiments in academic-industrial relationships, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-sponsored TB Drug Accelerator, the GlaxoSmithKline-based Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation, and the Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute. These activities have opened up unusual training opportunities. For example, two of our postdoctoral fellows have shared their time between our labs in New York and the labs of a pharmaceutical company collaborator in Spain. Likewise, some of the medical students doing research with us have spent part of their time in New York and part in Haiti at a WMC-affiliated institution, GHESKIO. Like many of the WMC medical students, they participate in the Global Health Curriculum.
We make use of several dozen core facilities available at Weill Cornell and our partner institutions. Members of the Department are heavy users of the High Throughput Screening Resource Facility that Weill Cornell shares with Rockefeller and of the Milstein Chemistry Core Facility. We are the primary users of Weill Cornell’s Biologic Safety Level 3 facilities.
The Department is devoted not only to research but also to training our postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and medical students. The graduate students are enrolled in the Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, a joint activity of Weill Cornell and the Hospital for Special Surgery on the one hand and Sloan Kettering Institute on the other hand. Students pursuing thesis research in our labs can enlist in any one of the seven graduate programs. Most often they have joined the Program in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis; the Allied Program in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology; or the Pharmacology Program. Some of our PhD students are members of the Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, a joint effort of Weill Cornell, Sloan Kettering and Rockefeller.
Finally, we are fortunate to have the support of a superb group of research assistants and administrative staff.
We encourage you to explore the web pages of the individual faculty and look forward to welcoming new members to the community.