Pitt Public Health is one of the few graduate schools of public health in the world with a department dedicated to the study of infectious diseases, which are at the root of some of the world’s most pressing health issues.
The Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology (IDM) is committed to training the next generation of scientists and public health professionals to enhance the control of infectious diseases in the human population. Our integrated microbiology graduate programs are devoted to the education and training of graduate students in various molecular, immunologic, epidemiologic, and biologic aspects of microbial pathogenesis, as well as infectious disease control and prevention.
Pitt Public Health has made major contributions in defining, preventing, and treating some of the most devastating diseases of the past 60 years. Among the pioneering scientific breakthroughs made by IDM researchers are:
- Prevention of poliovirus with gamma globulin, which helped in the development of the Salk polio vaccine
- Identification of dengue viruses and the hemorrhagic fever caused by them
- Discovery of adeno-associated virus
- Linking the transmission of cytomegalovirus to infected organs in transplantation
- Evidence showing HIV load in the blood is a strong predictor of disease progression
- Establishing the Pitt Men's Study, a part of the ongoing, nearly 30-year-old nationwide Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study on the natural history of HIV infection
Find a research program for your interests
Great progress has been made in the treatment, prevention, and eradication of many pathogens that have threatened humanity throughout history, but infectious diseases continue to cause suffering and death and pose an increasing risk to human populations worldwide.
Our research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of pathogenesis of microbial infections at the cellular and molecular level as they relate to developing methods for disease prevention and treatment.
IDM faculty members have brought in more than $118 million in National Institutes of Health funding in the last 10 years. Areas of research include:
- Natural history, molecular biology, immunopathogenesis, host genetics, and treatment of HIV infection
- AIDS education and prevention
- Molecular biology and immunopathogenesis of herpes virus infections, including Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV)
- Emerging and re-emerging infectious agents such as hepatitis C virus, dengue virus, avian influenza viruses, West Nile virus, and tuberculosis
- Development of HIV vaccines, immunotherapies, microbicides, and antiviral drugs
- Infectious disease complications and health disparities in sexual minorities
- Clinical and molecular infectious disease epidemiology
Pursue a career in infectious diseases and microbiology
IDM graduates benefit from a high placement rate in prestigious professional positions in academia, government, and industry. Recent graduates have found careers with governmental agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health; hospitals, such as Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC; private corporations, including pharmaceutical and biotech companies; nonprofit agencies; and various colleges and universities.
Recent PhD graduates hold titles such as:
- Assistant professor, Purdue University, Department of Biological Sciences
- Chief of the Laboratory of Viral Diseases, Virus Reference and Surveillance Lab, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health
- Post‐doctoral fellow, NIH, Critical Care Medicine Department
- Senior principal scientist, Pfizer
- Research officer, Sudbury Regional Hospital
Recent MS graduates are working as:
- Sales representative, Research Sales Division, Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Clinical research specialist, Novum Pharmaceutical Research Services
- Public health microbiologist, Vermont Department of Health
- Research associate, University of Pittsburgh
- PhD student, University of Washington
Recent MPH graduates are serving as:
- Public health advisor, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Executive director, Open Door, Inc.
- Research analyst, The Center for Biosecurity of UPMC
- Emergency preparedness & public health educator, Monroe County Health Department, MI
- Health management specialist, UPMC Health Plan
- Physician's assistant student, Yale University
The IDM Department is committed to high-quality graduate education that is consistent with our cutting-edge research and behavioral and community education programs. Drawing on the disciplines of molecular biology, immunology, epidemiology, medicine, health education, and community intervention, our graduate programs encourage students to engage in cross-disciplinary research of multiple aspects of infectious diseases.
Doctoral and master level degree programs offered include:
Within the MPH program two concentrations are available: