Dr. Jimmy Ballard Professor and Chairman
The current revolution in modern biology and biomedicine is far-reaching and provides one of the most exciting frontiers for creative and intellectual activity. Advances in DNA, RNA and protein technology are occurring at incredibly rapid rates with spectacular progress across many fields.
Microbiologists, biochemists and immunologists are at the center of this revolution, performing cutting edge research to explore the chemical basis of life by examination of almost all fundamental processes in molecular detail.
Fundamental reactions such as gene expression and the immune response are becoming understood at the molecular level in terms of specific interactions between metabolites, proteins, membrane components, DNA and RNA molecules.
Microbiologists and immunologists are using a wide variety of methods, from recombinant DNA techniques to monoclonal antibody technology to elucidate the mechanistic basis of life processes.
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is dedicated to contributing significantly to future developments in these areas through education of future scientists and health care professionals and by supporting basic research.
The research interests of the faculty of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology span a wide range of activities, organisms and approaches. Students are provided a broad spectrum from which to choose their specific areas of study. The Department offers outstanding opportunities for a challenging and exciting graduate education.
Molecular Biology of Pathogenic Agents
Pathogenic agents are diverse and encompass all biological kingdoms, including disease causing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Common to these organisms is the ability to infect and evade host defenses.
A priority of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology is to promote and conduct research on the molecular mechanisms by which these organisms cause disease. As a result, all departmental faculty are involved in externally funded research projects analyzing the molecular basis of virulence, and many serve on advisory panels for federal funding agencies and serve as reviewers for major journals in their respective fields.
The Department is proud of this national recognition and strives to maintain its reputation as a leading center for research on the molecular basis of microbial virulence in the southwest.
Immunology, Autoimmunity and Disease Pathogenesis
Immunology is another major area of strength and interactive research within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Investigators in this group are making substantial contributions to our understanding of immunological mechanisms in infectious and autoimmune diseases and to basic knowledge in B lymphocyte development.
The investigators within this group not only collaborate with other researchers in this group, but they also interact with investigators in the molecular pathogenesis and genetics group and with investigators in the Departments of Biochemistry, Pathology, Cell Biology and scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Although students in the immunology programs obtain degrees in Microbiology and Immunology, they are broadly educated in molecular and cell biology and prepared to enter competitive postdoctoral programs in any of these areas.