The MMG program offers outstanding training and educational opportunities in the areas of bacteriology, virology, and parasitology. Through participation in required courses, conducting laboratory rotations and attending seminars, first year students are exposed to basic concepts in these major disciplines of microbiology. These experiences allow the student sufficient opportunity to learn the varied research avenues available and to decide on a faculty mentor.
A description of the MMG faculty and their research interests can be found here.
MMG faculty with interests in bacteriology conduct basic research that addresses important, contemporary problems in the areas of microbial physiology (including sporulation, biofilm formation, mechanisms of antibiotic resistance and production, and cellular communication systems), microbial genetics (mechanisms of control of gene expression, transposition, and recombination), bacterial virulence factors (including those produced by the Group A streptococci, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Neisseria meningitidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Francisella tularensis, Clostridium difficile, enteropathogenic bacteria, Proteus spp, Staphylococcus aureus, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and how bacteria evade host defenses.
Figure 1. This figure highlights the molecular pathogenesis of Agrobacterium tumefaciens molecular biology as it causes disease in susceptible plants.(Courtesy of MMG faulty member Dr. David Lynn)
MMG faculty with interests in virology conduct basic research that address important, contemporary problems in the areas of antiviral development, mechanisms of antiviral resistance, viral replication and transmission, roles of viruses in oncology, HIV/AIDS, influenza, herpesviruses, mechanisms of viral pathogenesis, escape from immune systems and vaccine development. Noteworthy training opportunities in virology exist through research projects directed and facilitated by MMG faculty members in the Emory/UGA CEIRS Center (Walt Orenstein, Director) and the Emory Vaccine Center (MMG faculty member R. Ahmed, Director).
Figure 2. Three-dimensional structure of influenza hemagglutinin (HA), the viral surface protein responsible for binding to host cells. A close-up of the binding domain (shaded) is shown on the right to indicate how HA attaches to cellular receptors that contain sialic acid (green). (Courtesy of MMG faulty member Dr. David Steinhauer)
MMG faculty with interests in parasitology focus on malaria host-pathogen interactions, with the aim of better understanding how malaria infection takes hold and causes disease. Research topics include mechanisms of parasite invasion and residence in host cells, antigenic variation, immune mechanisms of parasite control, immunopathogenesis of malaria infection and the impact of co-infections on malaria. Multiple tools are being used to research malaria on campus and current funded work includes a large NIH-funded systems biology project Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC) http://www.systemsbiology.emory.edu/ that simultaneously models multiple aspects of malaria biology. Faculty members who specialize in malaria include Dr. Mary Galinski.