PhD

The PhD program in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology prepares students for competitive research and teaching careers in academia, government agencies, and private industry. Our PhD students complete coursework that emphasizes the fundamentals of pathogen biology, immunology, cell biology, and molecular biology, which provides the necessary educational basis to conduct independent research mentored by our faculty.

Careers

Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • Post-doctoral research fellow, NIH Critical Care Medicine Department
  • Assistant professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, George Washington University, School of Public Health and Health Services
  • Research assistant professor, Center for Global Health, University of New Mexico
  • Associate service fellow, CDC
  • Post-doctoral visiting fellow, Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh
  • Immunology sales specialist, Prolmmune, Inc.
  • Post-doctoral fellow, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
  • Director, NIH Academy Office of Intramural Training and Education

PhD employment 2016635919365802260342

Recent dissertation titles:

  • Effects of SIV Infection on Lymphoid Chemokine CXCL13, Paneth Cell Phenotype and Intestinal Antimicrobial Peptide Expression
  • HIV-1 Nef-Src Family Kinase Interaction: A Novel Target for the Inhibition of HIV-1 Pathogenesis
  • Novel mechanisms of cytokine signaling on T-cell and MDSC function in glioma development
  • The Effect of Epstein-Barr Virus Latent Membrane Protein 2 Expression on the Kinetics of Early B Cell Infection and Immortalization

Browse further titles in D-Scholarship - the institutional repository for research output at the University of Pittsburgh.

Competencies

Graduates will be able to...

  • 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.

Requirements

  • 72 credits, about half coursework and half research
  • Coursework in microbiology, immunology, and molecular virology
  • Coursework in public health foundations and research ethics
  • Advanced coursework in pathogenesis
  • Advanced dissertation research and coursework in an area of specialization

Full program information:
Student Handbook
Admissions

Contact

Velpandi Ayyavoo
Associate professor, and director of IDM graduate programs and PhD program
2117 Public Health
412-624-3070
velpandi@pitt.edu

Student & Alumni News

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Dutta awarded scholarship from U.S. State Department 

Dutta awarded scholarship from U.S. State Department

Congratulations to Justin A. Dutta (IDM '19, HUGEN '23) who was recently awarded a Critical Languages Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study Portuguese. With an acceptance rate of less than 10%, the Critical Language Scholarship is one of the country's most competitive scholarships ... (06/01/2020)
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IDM alum Taylor Poston recognized for research and practice 

IDM alum Taylor Poston recognized for research and practice

Congratulations to doctoral alumnus Taylor Poston (IDM '17). His undergraduate institution, Francis Marion University, honored him with their Professional Industry Award, presented annually to a graduate who serves as a practitioner or researcher in the natural or behavioral sciences, including fie... (03/18/2020)
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IDM alum Henning on Why COVID-19 is not the flu, and why we should be very concerned 

IDM alum Henning on Why COVID-19 is not the flu, and why we should be very concerned

TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT - What can you do when faced with a deadly pandemic? Pitt Public Health alumna and Pitt-Johnstown professor Jill Henning (IDM '08) offers: You can socially distance yourself. You may get sick and be OK, but your elderly neighbor may not have it so lucky. Stay home. Wash your hands ... (03/16/2020)
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Bowling selected as grand award judge 

Bowling selected as grand award judge

The 2018 grand award judge for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for the microbiology category is JENNIFER BOWLING (IDM ’21). The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, is a Society for Science and the Public and is the world’s largest international pre-college science ... (05/16/2018)
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Kujawa receives travel award to attend ASV 2018 

Kujawa receives travel award to attend ASV 2018

A $500 Student Travel Award has been awarded to MIKE KUJAWA (IDM '21) to attend the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Virology. The conference is hosted by the University of Maryland and will take place July 14-18, 2018. (05/14/2018)
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Dean's Day 2018 IDM departmental award recipients 

Dean's Day 2018 IDM departmental award recipients

Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology awards during our annual Dean's Day student research competition were given to KELSEY MESSERSCHMIDT (MPH '19), BETHANY FLAGE (MS '18), ROBERTA METTUS (MS '19), and RENEE ANDERKO (PhD '22). (05/07/2018)
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2018 Celebration of Student Awards 

2018 Celebration of Student Awards

On April 28, 2018, Pitt Public Health celebrated recent graduates with awards given upon the culmination of a degree program. Delta Omega's honor society inductees were announced and outstanding thesis/essay and dissertation awards were conferred. Outstanding Student Awards were also given at both ... (04/30/2018)
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Celebrate 70: DeLucia presents cholesterol regulation of HIV-1 trans infection and HIV-1 disease progression (VIDEO) 

Celebrate 70: DeLucia presents cholesterol regulation of HIV-1 trans infection and HIV-1 disease progression (VIDEO)

Doctoral candidate, DIANA DeLUCIA (IDM '19), presented some of her dissertation research on how the cholesterol levels in immune cells might be impacting HIV infection and disease progression to AIDS. It was found that antigen-presenting cells in nonprogressors have lower cholesterol levels which i... (04/19/2018)
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IDM's DELUCIA, RAVIKUMAR, and WOELL bring home 2017 Dean's Day departmental awards 

IDM's DELUCIA, RAVIKUMAR, and WOELL bring home 2017 Dean's Day departmental awards

IDM awarded departmental prizes in the 2017 Dean's Day student research competition to DANA WOELL of the MPH-PEL program in the MPH category, PRANALI RAVIKUMAR in the MS category, and DIANA DELUCIA in the PhD category. (05/02/2017)
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