Skip Navigation

MUSC Bulletin | College of Graduate Studies

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Section Contents
Programs of Study | Research Facilities | Guidelines | Faculty Research Interests | Course Descriptions

Programs of Study
The Department of Microbiology and Immunology offers programs leading to the M.S., Ph.D., MSTP and DSTP degrees. The program of study for each student is planned jointly by the student and his/her Advisory Committee and may be highly individualized according to the needs and goals of the student. The course of study includes an introduction to research and research ethics, advanced and elective courses in microbiology, immunology, molecular biology and/or further highly specialized graduate courses offered by the College of Graduate Studies.  In addition, each student must complete an original laboratory research project under the guidance of a senior investigator, and write and defend a thesis on their project.

Research Facilities
The department comprises approximately 20,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in the Basic Sciences Building, Darby Children’s Research Institute, and Hollings Cancer Center.  In addition to laboratories  and tissue culture facilities optimal for research in all areas of microbiology and immunology, the department is supported by a gnotobiotic animal facility in close collaboration with the College of Dental Medicine. Researchers also have access to multiple shared core facilities with advanced instrumentation for lipidomics, proteomics, confocal microscopy, small animal imaging, flow cytometry, and biostatistics.

Candidates for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees must satisfy requirements with regard to course work and thesis/dissertation. A minimum number of formal courses will be recommended. The student’s program of study will be under the approval of the department Graduate Program Committee. The thesis/dissertation will emphasize basic research and will be conducted under the direction of the student’s Advisory Committee.

The Microbiology and Immunology graduate program faculty, numbering more than 35 individuals with doctorates from a variety of different universities, represents a wide range of research interests. Current areas of research interest in the program include tumor immunology and immunotherapy; immunoglobulin structure and genetics; regulation of the immune response; transplantation immunobiology; immunology of CNS diseases; auto-immunity; oncogenes; regulation of gene expression; signal transduction; lymphocyte activation; tumor virology, complement and its regulation, microbial physiology; bioremediation and microbial ecology, and infection control.  Departmental faculty members who also have an M.D. degree have appointments in various clinical departments, thus permitting direct patient access.

Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests are listed on the Department of Microbiology and Immunology’s web page at

Microbiology and Immunology Course Descriptions
The number of semester hours is designated by s.h.

MBIM-623G. Microbiology for Dental Students. Microbiology is a core course in the dental curriculum that is intended to foster a knowledge base and understanding of the fundamentals of bacterial physiology and genetics; clinical bacteriology, virology, parasitology and mycology; antimicrobial therapy; asepsis in dentistry; and infection control. The primary goals of the course are to explore the relationship between the physiology of medically important microbes to the pathobiological sequelae of human-microbial interactions, with particular reference to the role of oral microbes in human disease. Emphasis is placed on the study of oral ecology, dental caries, periodontal disease, hepatitis and AIDS. Laboratory instruction includes problem based, small group exercises in microbiology, with specific sections on oral flora and aseptic techniques. 4 hr. Spring (Schmidt).

MBIM-725. Virology. This course will introduce principles of virology to advanced microbiology students. The key areas to be covered include the unique features of replication of RNA and DNA viruses, the uses of viruses as vectors, and elements of viral pathogenicity. The material will be presented in a number of formats including lectures by faculty, written papers, oral presentations by students, and discussion of current and seminal literature. 3 s.h. Spring or Fall. Alternate Years.

MBIM-735. Mol & Cell Basis of Inflam & Immunity. This course represents an intensive and in-depth study of the areas of cellular immunology, immunogenetics, clinical immunology, and the immunobiology of tumor development. Each area will be presented with the intent of developing a sound understanding of experimental and theoretical observations. Emphasis will be placed on the most current research involving sophisticated methodology.  4 s.h. Fall/Spring.

MBIM-738. Intro Micro Immuno Methods. This is an introductory research methods course with three goals:(1) to provide students with the planning and mathematical skills to correctly and confidently perform common microbiological and immunological laboratory techniques and collect the results, (2) to present adequate theoretical information about the techniques to enable students to critically appraise results presented in published articles, (3) to teach students how to interpret a  methods section a published article such that they can write an adequate protocol for themselves and anyone wishing to repeat their work. There is no wet lab associated with this course. Class time will include approximately 1/3 lecture and 2/3 group active-learning activities.  4 s.h. Fall.

MBIM-742. Advanced Microbiology. The course will present in-depth perspectives on the agents responsible for the major bacterial, viral and parasitic-induced diseases. Emphasis will be placed on current research and new insights gained into the biochemistry, molecular biology and immunology of these organisms. 4 s.h. Fall. Alternate Years.

MBIM-770. Seminar. Participation of graduate students in this course is mandatory. Guest speakers supplement the regular program. Each graduate student gives at least one seminar yearly.  Pass/Fail 1 s.h. Fall/Spring.

MBIM-772. Environmental Microbiology. The course emphasizes fundamental microbiological principles as they apply to the environment. Its main goal is to introduce the student to the concepts of microbial diversity and evolution, microbial metabolism and catalysis in the biodegradation and synthesis of natural and man-made compounds, the microbial role in biogeochemical cycling, and the interactions of microbes with the physical environment and with other organisms related to the application of microbiological approaches to problems which exist in today’s environment. The course should prepare the student interested in environmental problems and issues with the necessary practical information to make sound judgements in assessing meaningful solutions and the role microorganisms play in those processes. 3 s.h. Fall/Spring. Alternate years.

MBIM-775. Special Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. This elective course will provide continuous update in immunology to those students who have completed Basic and Advanced Immunology and taken their qualifying examination. It will be a seminar course during which the students will meet with the instructors for two hours a week over a semester to discuss the most recent publications and the new insights they give. To ensure a broad coverage, any faculty in Immunology and Microbiology may suggest a topic to be discussed. Prerequisite: MBIM-735 or permission of instructor. 2 s.h. Fall/Spring.

MBIM-776. Special Projects in Immunology and Microbiology. Individual faculty accept limited numbers of students to pursue a “small” research project. Intended for those students desiring research experience but open to those who would pursue relevant projects of their own design. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Variable s.h. Fall/Spring.

MBIM-779. Immunogenetics. Initial lectures will review the fundamental principles of genetics. The principle focus of the course will be the genetics of human MHC and immunoglobulin allotypes. Major blood genes will also be discussed. Statistical methods employed in delineating the genetic contribution to human diseases will be reviewed. 2 s.h. Spring.

MBIM-785.  Spring Selective: Emerging Infectious Diseases. This intensive 7-week course will teach basic immunological and microbiological concepts through in-depth study of microorganisms responsible for emerging or epidemic infectious diseases. Classes will include lecture, primary literature reading and analysis, and some in-class small group work. 3 s.h. Spring.

MBIM-786. Cancer Immunotherapy Lessons. This course will combine didactic lectures with participation in mock study sections. The first 3 weeks of class will be lecture and the remaining 12 weeks will be used to review and critique past grant proposals related to cancer immunotherapy recently submitted by principal investigators at MUSC. Students will also attend the monthly meetings of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (CII) program faculty (4 meetings during the semester) and submit a 1 page written summary and response for each. 2 s.h. Fall/Spring.

MBIM-788. Spring Selective: Immunobiology.  Intensive 7-week introductory immunology course for graduate students in lecture format, utilizing Janeway’s Immunobiology as a textbook. Emphasis is on understanding molecular mechanisms resulting in immunity, and experimental methods for testing and discovering these mechanisms. **(not for advanced credit if taken as part of the PhD first year curriculum). 3 hr. Spring (Atkinson).

MBIM-856. Critical Literature Review in Inflammation and Immunity.  Course is a formalized, refereed Journal Club focused on topics of general interest in Microbiology and Immunology. Mandatory for PhD candidates in Microbiology and Immunology. 1 s.h. Fall/Spring.

MBIM-970. Research. Variable s.h.

MBIM-980. Thesis. Variable s.h.

MBIM-990. Dissertation. Variable s.h.

M&I Students are also free to take advanced courses offered by other departments, provided the courses are approved for advanced credit by the student’s Advisory Committee.

Last Published with Edits:June 23, 2014 2:23 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: June 2014

© 2016  Medical University of South Carolina | Disclaimer