The Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology's (MMI) mission is to maintain active and integrated research programs that study the interactions between microbes and their hosts. The goal is to understand how these influence the outcome of infection and disease progression. Current research interests in the department include understanding host signaling in response to viral infection, molecular mechanisms of NK and NK T cell activation, and molecular principles underlying fungal pathogenesis. This work provides an interdisciplinary structure for our training programs.
MMI supports undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral education in the areas of microbiology and immunology. Departmental instruction includes lecture courses, seminar courses, and laboratory research (both undergraduate independent study and graduate thesis). We foster collaborative studies within the department as well as with faculty in other departments, both on campus and hospital-based.
Alcohol causes microbiota dysbiosis and breaches intestinal integrity, resulting in liver inflammation and ultimately cirrhosis. In this issue of Cell Host & Microbe, Wang et al. (2016) demonstrate that ethanol suppresses the intestinal anti-microbial response. This enables gut bacteria to trespass to the liver and thus exacerbates the disease progression.
The mucus layer is critical in limiting contact between host and the complex bacterial consortia that colonize the intestine. A recent paper in Cell Host and Microbe provides comprehensive insight into the dynamics of mucus layer maturation upon bacterial colonization of germ-free (GF) mice that have implications for studies on host-microbe interaction involving
colonization of GF mice.
Five Questions with: Peter Belenky
Peter Belenky is assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Brown University. He was the lead author of a recent study on the surprising complexity of antibiotic functionality in the journal Cell Reports. The paper is part of the worldwide effort to prevent the efficacy of antibiotics from descending to dangerously low levels.