The department's overall mission is to maintain an active and integrated research program for studying the interactions between pathogenic microbes and their hosts that influence the outcome of infections.

Specialty areas of MMI faculty research include: cellular and cytokine mechanisms regulating immune defenses; molecular mechanisms controlling the activation of both NK and NK T cells; function relationships of RNases H and Trypanosoma brucei; molecular virology, bacterial pathogenesis, innate and cancer immunity, signal transduction, cell growth and apoptosis; viral pathogenic mechanisms at the molecular level, and the interaction of viruses with the host immune system; as well as cellular and molecular pathways required for a successful immune response against intracellular pathogens.