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The Department of Microbiology has strength in many different areas of immunological research which also spill over into the accompanying areas of Microbial Pathogenesis and Genetics, Virology, Structural Biology/Biophysics and Cancer. Most basic studies in these areas directly impact our understanding of the immune system in health and disease and a strength of our department is the cross fertilization between these basic research areas. Our faculty perform research on a wide spectrum of fundamental immunological problems including: 1) developmental and environmental control of T and B cell origins 2) basic cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling the function of these cells and their interactions with the innate immune system, 3) the regulation of the effector activities and interactions of these cell types in systemic and mucosal immune responses to infectious agents, 4) the role of these elements of the immune system in inflammatory responses involved in allergy, autoimmune diseases and atherosclerosis and 5) development of vaccines and drugs to prevent or provide  effective therapies for these diseases.