Microbiology & Immunology PhD Program

The PhD in Microbiology and Immunology prepares graduates to become independent scientists in areas of GW faculty expertise, which include the study of host-pathogen relationships, inflammation, vaccine development, T lymphocyte activation, cancer immunology, molecular parasitology, molecular retrovirology (HIV/AIDS), and microbial genomics and proteomics.

GW is a proud partner in the DC Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR) aimed at ending the HIV epidemic, and PhD students can pursue training and symposia from a number of experts in HIV research. Outstanding research programs also include the Research Center for Neglected Diseases of Poverty, which aims to mitigate the burden of human disease in developing nations. Students have access to the Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy (CETI) lab, a state-of-the-art GW Biorepository resource to facilitate research on HIV/AIDS and cancer, as well as cutting-edge university core facilities for flow cytometry, imaging, and computational biology.

The GW Training Program in HIV Persistence, Co-Morbidities and Therapeutics (supported by NIH T32 AI 158105) is a prestigious program to prepare doctoral students with the knowledge, analytic and leadership skills to become successful future HIV research investigators. Research is focused on 1) cure research including T cell therapy and reversal of viral latency, 2) co-morbidities including malignances and CNS disease and 3) prevention research including vaccines and novel therapeutics. Students apply for this program at the end of their first year, with their mentor and HIV related research.

The PhD in Microbiology and Immunology begins with the interdisciplinary coursework in molecular, cellular, and systems biology and research rotations offered through GW’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences curriculum. In the second and third semester students add a comprehensive introduction to the conceptual and experimental underpinnings of microbiology and immunology. Further electives, career development coursework in scientific writing, oral communication, and research ethics and laboratory rotations are provided. Following required laboratory rotations, students complete a. grant-style qualifier and then work with their research advisor and the Graduate Program Directors to complete remaining Microbiology and Immunology degree requirements, including the research dissertation.

Microbiology and Immunology Courses:
MICR 8210: Infection and Immunity
MICR 8230: Molecular and Cellular Immunology
MICR 8270: Advanced Topics in Immunology
MICR XXX: Basics of HIV Persistence, Comorbidities and Treatment
MICR 8998: Advanced Reading and Research Seminar Course
MICR 8999: Dissertation Research

Some Suggested Electives:
PUBH 6276: Public Health Microbiology
MICR 6292: Tropical Infectious Disease
ANAT 6182: Fundamentals of Regenerative Biology and Systems Physiology

Courses in genomics, cancer biology, neuroscience, and pharmacology are also available.

Seminars/Journal Clubs:
MITM Seminar series is once a month on Thursday at noon. CFAR seminars and events are posted.

Examples of Recent Microbiology & Immunology PhD Dissertations:

Indra Sarabia, PhD 2021 “In vitro tools to study the establishment of HIV-1 latency and evaluate latency revising agents for HIV-1 cure strategies” Mentor: Alberto Bosque. F31 awardee. (Now Scientist-Biosassay at BioLegend, San Diego, CA)

Allison Powell, PhD 2021 “Genetically modified immune cells secreting broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV: restoration of systemic immunity” Mentors: Russell Cruz, David Leitenberg. (Now Scientist at TCR2 Therapeutics, Washington DC)

Graduate Program Directors:

Alberto Bosque, PhD, MBA
Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, & Tropical Medicine
Ross Hall 617
abosque@gwu.edu

David Leitenberg, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Tropical Medicine; Pediatrics and Pathology
Ross Hall 621
dleit@gwu.edu

How to apply to the IBS and Microbiology and Immunology PhD program

For IBS Application Questions contact Colleen Kennedy, IBS Program Manager at ckennedy@gwu.edu