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 microbes and the immune system that defends against microbes as well as other diseases. The IMMP Home Area is a community of over 60 faculty members with expertise in immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and microbial physiology. The immunology group studies the innate and adaptive immune response and seeks to exploit the immune system to discover new therapies for a wide array of diseases from infections to immune-mediated disorders and cancer. The microbial pathogenesis group specializes in revealing the molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions for a broad 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 and provide opportunities for novel metabolic engineering. Collectively, the IMMP laboratories use multidisciplinary approaches including microbial genetics, molecular imaging, structural biology, transgenic animals, and genomics/proteomics to understand basic biological mechanisms and then use this knowledge to combat human infections and diseases. The UCLA resources utilized by our faculty include BSL3 facilities, the Molecular Screening Shared Resource (MSSR), the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Electron Imaging Center for Nanomachines, the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging, and the Ahmanson Biological Imaging Center. We provide a rigorous and enthusiastic training program that enables our students to make a direct impact on human health and the environment and prepares students for successful careers as research scientists in top academic institutions, biotechnology industries, and government agencies.



Meet Benancio and Emily: incoming first-year IMMP students


Pioneering stem cell gene therapy cures infants with bubble baby disease

In a phase 2 clinical trial led by Dr. Donald Kohn of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, all nine babies were cured. A 10th trial participant was a teenager at the time of treatment and showed no signs of immune system recovery. Kohn’s treatment method, a stem cell gene therapy that safely restores immune systems in babies with the immunodeficiency using the child’s own cells, has cured 30 out of 30 babies during the course of several clinical trials. Read more here…

Home Area Director

Elissa Hallem, Ph.D.
254 BSRB