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Why study infectious diseases and microbiology?

Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

  • Finds answers to the most critical questions related to preventing, controlling, and eradicating diseases across the country and around the world
  • Seeks to understand the mechanisms of pathogenesis of microbial infections at the cellular and molecular levels as they relate directly to developing methods for disease prevention and treatment
  • Focuses on population-based education and prevention for control of infectious diseases
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers are:
  • Projected to experience faster than average employment growth (20–28%) over the period 2010–20
  • Projected to see 141,900 job openings over the period 2010–20
Post secondary health specialties teachers are:
  • Projected to experience average employment growth (10–19%) over the period 2010–20
  • Projected to see 586,100 job openings over the period 2010–20
Microbiologists are:
  • Projected to experience average employment growth (10–19%) over the period 2010–20
  • Projected to see 7,200 job openings over the period 2010–20

All programs employment 2016635909032745157893

Reasons why infectious diseases and microbiology research is important:

  • Through cutting-edge, translational research, develops new standards of care for the treatment of infectious diseases
  • Through involvement in large-scale clinical trials, discovers novel ways to prevent the transmission and spread of infectious diseases
  • Studies infectious disease outbreaks to determine how best to protect the public

Everyone benefits from research and interventions such as the following, in which the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology has been and is involved:

  • Discovering that a single measurement of the amount of HIV in a patient’s blood could predict the subsequent risk of developing AIDS, years before symptoms of the disease emerged
  • Identifying the virus that causes dengue hemorrhagic fever
  • Discovering the California encephalitis virus, a member of the California serogroup viruses that are a common cause of arboviral encephalitis in the United States
  • Discovering the adeno-associated virus, which is important for use as a viral vector for gene therapy
  • Through large-scale clinical trials like the Pitt Men’s Study, making major findings related to the natural history of HIV infection that have been critical for the development of effective treatment and prevention strategies
  • Developing a test to measure the level of Epstein-Barr virus in blood, which has been used extensively to control and prevent post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease
  • Providing conclusive evidence that semen from HIV-infected men carries large amounts of virus and that antiretroviral treatment dramatically reduces viral load in semen, thereby lowering the risk of HIV transmission

Graduates of the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology are able to:

Doctor of Philosophy
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the molecular biology of hosts and pathogens and how pathogenesis of infectious diseases evolves from the interactions of organisms on a molecular level.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the mechanisms of innate and acquired immunity and the role of immune functions in health and disease.
  • Demonstrate an ability to analyze and interpret data from scientific publications in the field of molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, or infectious diseases.
  • Show an ability to think independently and demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in a specific area of microbiology related to the student’s dissertation work.
  • Conduct independent laboratory-based research leading to a first author publication in a professional peer-reviewed journal.
  • Write and defend the merits of a dissertation in a field of their research.
Master of Science
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the molecular biology of hosts and pathogens and how pathogenesis of infectious diseases evolves from the interactions of organisms on a molecular level.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the mechanisms of innate and acquired immunity and the role of immune functions in health and disease.
  • Demonstrate an ability to analyze and interpret data from a scientific publication in the field of molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, or infectious diseases.
  • Demonstrate an ability to think independently and demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in a specific area of microbiology related to the student’s thesis work.
  • Conduct relatively independent laboratory-based research.
Master of Public Health, Infectious Disease Concentration in Pathogenesis, Eradication and Laboratory Practice
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge in infectious disease pathogenesis and application to public health prevention and control.
  •  Demonstrate knowledge of host response mechanism and application to domestic and global infectious diseases.
  • Contribute to research and development in novel or enhanced prevention, treatment, and eradication programs.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic laboratory methods and data analyses as applied to public health infectious disease programs.

Master of Public Health, Infectious Disease Concentration in Management, Intervention and Community Practice

  • Demonstrate knowledge of local, regional, national and global infectious diseases.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of social, economic, and cultural factors for the prevention, control and/or elimination of the emergence and spread of infectious diseases in specific populations and communities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of infectious disease pathogenesis, prevention, clinical diagnosis, and treatment in relevant populations in domestic and international settings.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of clinical, behavioral, epidemiological aspects of infectious disease prevention and treatment interventions for health services, systems of care, organizations, institutions, communities, and governments.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills in recognizing, assessing, evaluating scientific research and best practices to make evidence-based public health recommendations for infectious disease planning, interventions, research, and policies.

 

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