Immunity, Microbes, and Molecular Pathogenesis (IMMP)


The Immunity, Microbes & Molecular Pathogenesis (IMMP) Home Area offers students an inspired training program that focuses on the study of pathogens, host-pathogen interactions, microbial physiology, and the immune system. More than 60 faculty and 40 students participate in the IMMP program. The immunology group studies the innate and adaptive immune response and seeks to exploit the immune system to discover new therapies for a broad array of diseases, from infections to immune-mediated disorders and cancer. The pathogenesis group studies the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions for a wide variety of viruses, bacteria, and parasites that cause substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide. The microbial physiologists study the metabolic and regulatory networks of microbes, and determine how their diverse and often extreme environmental adaptations result in unique biological systems. Collectively, the IMMP laboratories use multidisciplinary approaches including microbial genetics, molecular imaging, structural biology, genomics/proteomics, and in vivo models to understand basic biological mechanisms and then use this knowledge to combat human infections and diseases.

The IMMP program provides a diverse, inclusive, rigorous, and enthusiastic training program that enables our students to make a direct impact on human health and the environment. Our graduating students go on to successful careers in many different scientific areas, including but not limited to careers in academia, industry, and government. We encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply to the IMMP program. For questions about the program, please contact the Home Area Director, Dr. Elissa Hallem.


The IMMP program welcomes Dr. Anthony Covarrubias, our newest faculty member! Dr. Covarrubias is a macrophage biologist with expertise in immuno-metabolism, and how inflammation and metabolism are integrated to regulate metabolic health and disease states including aging. Dr. Covarrubias’ work is focused on how diet and aging-related inflammation impacts the aging process. In a recent manuscript he showed that the decline of NAD+ during aging is driven by the activation of tissue-resident macrophages via senescent cells. As senescent cells progressively accumulate in aging tissues, these results highlight a new causal link between visceral tissue senescence, NAD+, and immuno-metabolic dysregulation during aging. More information about the Covarrubias Lab can be found at:


Congratulations to IMMP student Kelly Kennewick on receiving a 2021 HHMI Gilliam Fellowship! Kelly’s research in Dr. Steve Bensinger’s lab focuses on the crosstalk between lipid metabolism and T cell immunity.

Congratulations to IMMP student Chris Luthers on receiving a 2021 Ursula Mandel Fellowship! Chris’ research in Dr. Don Kohn’s lab focuses on hematopoietic stem cell therapies for the treatment of X-Linked Agammaglobulinemia (XLA).

 Congratulations to IMMP student Nick Ramirez on receiving an NRSA F31 Fellowship! Nick’s research in Dr. Hung Ton-That’s lab focuses on mechanisms of pilus assembly on the surface of Gram-positive bacteria.

Congratulations to IMMP student Allison Daly on receiving an NRSA F31 Fellowship! Allison’s research in Dr. Steve Smale’s lab focuses on how different NFKB dimers bind to and regulate distinct subsets of critical immune genes.

Home Area Director

Elissa Hallem, Ph.D.
254 BSRB