Toxo BMDC. Courtesy of Sarah Ewald

The research groups in Immunology investigate how the immune system develops, how it functions, and how it becomes dysregulated and/or leads to disease.  Their interests encompass basic mechanisms at the molecular, cellular, and whole organism levels, and translation of discoveries into the clinic.  Immunology is an inherently translational science, and Immunology research in MIC is oriented towards infectious diseases, cancer, autoimmunity, allergic disease, inflammation, immune system development, vascular biology, and neuroscience. Research questions that Immunology faculty in MIC are addressing include:

  • What processes control the development of immune cells?
  • What signals are activated in the immune system by microbes and tumors? How do these signals determine the quality and function of the immune response?
  • Why is the immune system unable to control some viruses, bacteria, protozoan parasites, and tumors? What can we do to augment immune control?
  • How is self-tolerance established and maintained? How and why does autoimmune disease develop?
  • Why do allergic responses develop against innocuous substances? How can we alter the development of these responses to minimize allergies?
  • How does the immune system mediate chronic inflammation and tissue repair?

Programs and Centers

These research questions are enriched by a network of Centers and Programs at UVA that bring Immunology researchers in MIC in contact with colleagues in other departments and disciplines, including:

These Centers and Programs are inclusive, and reflect the strongly collaborative and collegial environment of the University of Virginia.  Through their individual program activities, they increase the breadth of immunologically-related activities. Collectively, they create a rich intellectual environment where trainees are exposed to cutting-edge technologies and a range of disciplines and ideas that support productive research careers in Immunology.

Primary MIC Immunology Faculty members

Kristin Anderson

Anderson, Kristin

Engineering cancer-killing T cells to overcome obstacles in solid tumors

Alison Criss

Criss, Alison K.

Cellular and molecular mechanisms of Neisserial pathogenesis

Andrew Dudley

Dudley, Andrew

Tumor microenvironment and mechanisms of tumor neovascularization

Michael Elliott

Elliott, Michael R.

Macrophage effector functions in inflammation and immunotherapy

Victor Engelhard

Engelhard, Victor H.

Identification of MHC-restricted tumor antigens / Control of T cell homing to tumors / Tertiary lymphoid structures and intratumoral immunity


Loren Erickson

Erickson, Loren D.

Immune mechanisms of pathogenic antibody production in allergy and autoimmunity

Sarah Ewald

Ewald, Sarah

Innate immunity, chronic disease, host-parasite interactions, Toxoplasma gondii, proteomics

Young Hahn

Hahn, Young S.

Immune regulation for HCV infection and chronic liver inflammation

Melanie Rutkowski

Rutkowski, Melanie

Influence of commensal microbes on immune homeostasis, anti-tumor immunity, and metastasis

Daniel Zegarra-Ruiz

Zegarra-Ruiz, Daniel Fernando

Unraveling the role of host microbe interactions in autoimmune diseases

Hui Zong

Zong, Hui

Early detection, cancer prevention, and tumor microenvironment