BMS Faculty in Immunology


Research Area Leaders: John Chang & Shane Crotty 

The Immunology Research 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 Immunology. The overall goal of this research 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 research 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 research 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.


BMS provides a unified core curriculum for all first-year students. Based on their interests, students can choose from a range of elective courses to fill their 15-unit elective requirement. Courses related to this research area are listed below


Course Number Course Title Units
BGGN 225 Graduate Immunology 4
BGGN 226 Graduate Animal Virology 4
BGGN 228 Graduate Developmental Biology 4
BGGN 230 Graduate Signal Transduction 4
BGGN 233 Cellular Immunology 3
PHAR 201 Bioinformatics 1 – Biological Data Representation and Analysis 4
BGJC 204 Journal Club in Molecular and Cellular Immunology 1