Faculty Contacts: John Chang & Shane Crotty 

The Immunology Training Area is a unique joint effort between several departments at UC San Diego and LJI: the Department of Medicine, Pathology , Biological Sciences, and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. The overall goal of this training area is to provide students with exceptional and rigorous training in molecular and cellular immunology. The study of the immune system uses molecular, genetic, biochemical, and developmental approaches to understand the biomedically important issues of immunity, autoimmunity, allergy, immunodeficiency, transplantation, and cancer. Moreover, studies focusing on human disease pathogenesis often lead to insight into the fundamental mechanisms by which the immune response is regulated. Many faculty research programs now bridge the disciplines of Microbiology and Immunology to probe the specific interactions between microbial virulence factors and host innate and adaptive immune defenses. In this fashion, we gain a better understanding of the fundamental pathogenesis of infectious diseases and further development of vaccines and other immunotherapies.

Immunology faculty associated with the training area study a diverse range of topics, from fundamental mechanisms of B and T lymphocyte development and differentiation; basic mechanisms of innate immune defense involving dendritic cells, macrophages, and neutrophils; immunity against microbial pathogens as well as tumors; mucosal immunity; autoimmune disease, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and the inflammatory bowel disease; and hematopoietic stem cell and organ transplantation. A guiding principle throughout their research is the use of cutting-edge technology and multi-disciplinary approaches to fundamentally address major human health issues.

The training area is tightly integrated with several other training initiatives on campus. The multidisciplinary qBio Ph.D. specialization is open to all graduate students in the BMS program. The UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation  promotes training at the cutting-edge of microbiome research, biomedical engineering, and quantitative measurements and modeling.

Find BMS Faculty in Immunology

Required Coursework for BMS Students

BMS students take a core curriculum that provides the foundation to allow them to specialize in any of the offered training areas. In the Fall quarter, "Molecules to Organisms" (BIOM 200A&B) provides a systematic approach to current Biomedical Research, using analysis of selected topics to focus on the process of research discovery and its critical evaluation. "Seminar in Biomedical Research" (BIOM 201) includes attendance at one of the UC San Diego seminar series and is designed to provoke critical discussion of the presented findings and scientific approaches in a small group setting. BMS students also take short courses in statistical analysis of data (BIOM 285) and ethics in research (BIOM 219) in the second or third quarter of their first year.

Specialized Coursework

Core Training Area Courses 

Course Number Course Title Units
BGGN 225 (Winter) Graduate Immunology 4
BIOM 253 (Spring) Pathogens and Host Defense: Immunology 3
BIOM 253 (Spring) Pathogens and Host Defense: Microbiology 3

Elective Courses (to fulfill 15 unit BMS elective requirement)

Course Number Course Title Units
BGGN 233 Cellular Immunology 3
BGGN 226 Graduate Animal Virology 4
BGGN 228 Graduate Developmental Biology 4
BGGN 230 Graduate Signal Transduction 4
PHAR 201 Bioinformatics 1 – Biological Data Representation and Analysis 4
BIOM 277 Seminars in Molecular Pathology 2
BGJC 204 Journal Club in Molecular and Cellular Immunology 1