School of Medicine

Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Parasitology

As a basic science department in a medical school, faculty undertake both basic and translational research. Our investigators have support from the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies, the State of Louisiana and from industry. Details of our research interests can be found under the individual investigator links.

Immunology/Infectious Diseases/Cancer

Pamela Kozlowski, PhD                                         
HIV-1 and SARS CoV-2 vaccine development, functions of antiviral IgA antibodies, mucosal immunity to HIV-1 and SARS CoV-2.

Alison Quayle, PhD    
How Chlamydia trachomatis evades immune recognition and establishes long-term infections, modulation of genital immunity by the vaginal microbiota, and evaluation of novel preventative strategies for STIs and HIV.                                                                       

Alistair Ramsay, PhD          
Host: pathogen interactions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, SARS-CoV-2 and other intracellular pulmonary infections. Vaccine development strategies against M. tuberculosis and other intracellular pathogens.

Guoshun Wang, DVM, PhD
Neutrophil biology in infection and inflammation, innate immune defect of cystic fibrosis, and gene- and stem cell-based therapy for diseases.

Arnold Zea, PhD
T cell dysfunction in patients with tuberculosis and cancer and underlying regulatory mechanisms.

Krzysztof Reiss, PhD (Joint Faculty) 
DNA repair and mutagenesis in medulloblastoma, molecular pathways in neurological cancer.

Bacterial Pathogenesis

Li Shen, MD, PhD 
Molecular biology and pathogenesis of Chlamydia; global gene regulatory mechanisms.

Christopher Taylor, PhD
Bioinformatics and Computational Biology for analysis of high-throughput sequencing data to characterize the human microbiome and interactions with sexually transmitted infections.

Jessica Rivera, MD, PhD (Joint Faculty)
Bacterial pathogenesis; biofilms and orthotics.

Zezhang (Tom) Wen, PhD (Joint Faculty)
Molecular characterization of oral biofilms and regulation of Streptococcus mutans pathogenicity.


Eukaryotic Pathogens

Ben Kelly, PhD
Molecular mechanisms underlying parasite viability and virulence in leishmaniasis and Chagas’ disease; identifying drug targets in Leishmania species and Trypanosoma cruzi.

Ping Wang, PhD
The mucormycosis causal agent Rhizopus delemar is recalcitrant to genetic research. We are attempting to understand its pathogenesis  by developing various genetic and genomic approaches.

Hong Xin, MD, PhD
Development of novel synthetic vaccines and immunotherapeutics for invasive fungal infections. Protective mechanisms of monoclonal antibodies and vaccine induced immunity in high-risk immunocompromised populations.

Molecular Virology/ Viral Pathogenesis/Cancer 

Jennifer Cameron, PhD
DNA tumor virus pathogenesis; Virus-host interactions; Viral co-infections and impact on human health; Development of diagnostic and prograstic cancer screening tests.

Timothy Foster, PhD
Virus-host interactions: Mechanisms of herpes virus subversion of host intrinsic anti-pathogen responses.

Michael Hagensee, MD, PhD (Joint Faculty)
Immunology and structure of human papillomaviruses. 

Francesca Peruzzi, PhD (Joint Faculty)
Molecular mechanisms of neurobiological dysfunction caused by HIV-1, the role of microRNAs in tumor growth.

West, John T., PhD (Joint Faculty)
Retroviral and herpetic infection, immune dysregulation, neoplastic growth. Viral evolution, vaccine design, regulation of RNA processing and translation, and viral pathogenesis. Focus on the immunobiology of KSHV and Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

Wood, C., PhD (Joint Faculty)
HIV and Kaposi’s sarcoma associated human herpesvirus KSHV. Major focus on transmission of KSHV in Zambia and the development of this work as a model for research infrastructure growth and collaborative studies between the US and Zambia.