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Immunology Theme (IMM)

Research Areas: Cancer Immunology, Autoimmunity, Neuroimmunity, Infection, Mucosal Immunity, Allergy/Asthma

Immunology is one of eight interdisciplinary PhD themes within Graduate Biomedical Sciences (GBS).  Students select a theme upon application but have access to faculty and courses from across GBS, allowing for flexibility in both research and academics.

From the outset, UAB has been recognized as a leading academic research institution in the country and one of the world's premier centers for immunology research. Over 90 UAB faculty are actively engaged in immunological research, seen here, including:

  • Studies to understand the basic function of the immune system and the underlying pathophysiological processes that contribute to a range of immune-mediated diseases,
  • Translational studies that are focused on the development of vaccines and immunotherapeutics, and
  • Clinical studies that test novel therapies designed to mitigate immune-mediated diseases.

Immunology plays such an important role in the ongoing research endeavor at UAB that Inflammation, Infection, and Immunity (I3) was recently named as one of the five pillars of emphasis in the strategic plan for the UAB Heersink School of Medicine.


The Immunology Theme consolidates immunologists with a diverse range of research interests into a single faculty devoted to training students who aspire to become the immunologists of tomorrow. The theme is structured to allow you to develop your own unique training experience in immunology while you apply the newest, most powerful research tools to the scientific problem of your choice. UAB has immunology research programs that span the entire breadth of the immune system — including innate immunity, lymphocyte biology and mucosal immunology — as well as many aspects of clinical immunology — including transplantation, rheumatology, infectious diseases, neuroimmunology and asthma/allergy (a combination rarely seen at most universities or research centers). 

See here for IMM theme requirements.

Why should you join the Immunology Theme at UAB?

We strive to provide outstanding mentorship to our students as well as unique training experiences. Dedicated faculty — including the theme director and co-directors — oversee the program and serve as advisors for our students. An Admissions/Advisory Committee oversees theme operations and the Student Advisory Committee serves as a liaison between the directors and students. Many of our students are funded by our top-ranked immunology training grant, which is one of the oldest and most well-established in the country. In addition, our students have outstanding success in obtaining their own funding through the NIH and research foundations.

UAB is a founding member of the annual Southeast Regional Immunology meeting that provides students with outstanding opportunities to present their research and meet immunologists from around the southeast region. To foster student travel to meetings and away courses, the Department of Microbiology provides opportunities to obtain travel funding for students pursuing immunologically relevant research and training.

Where will this degree take you?

UAB has a large and vibrant immunology community in a highly collegial and collaborative environment, offering excellent educational experiences. This will help you identify the research that excites you and expose you to state-of-the-art techniques in immunology, thereby fostering your success going forward. UAB excels in its professional career development training opportunities, and our alumni go on to careers in academic and industry research, teaching, science policy, science writing, and more. Learn where GBS graduates are now. If you have any questions about the program, do not hesitate to contact any of the theme directors. We hope that you will consider UAB for your future training as we are committed to making it an outstanding experience for you. 


IMM 2023 Incoming Students

Gwendolyn Cohen

Pankoj Kumar Das

Jada Harvey

Ahmad Mohammad

Elizabeth Morgan

Holly Stephens

Keun-You Tsai

Xianyou Xia

IMM Theme Contacts

Theme Director

Theme Director

Dr. Louis Justement
(205) 934-1429
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Theme Co-Director

Theme Co-Director

Dr. Craig Maynard
(205) 996-0136
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Theme Co-Director

Theme Co-Director

Dr. Laurie Harrington
(205) 996-9795
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