The desire to explain natural phenomena, including disease, is the basis for most students’ interest in the biological sciences. Graduate students who work with faculty in the UCLA Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (MIMG) make original contributions in the various research areas of microbiology (including bacteriology, virology, mycology, and parasitology), immunology, and molecular genetics.

Microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics are interwoven disciplines. Microbiology has played a central role in all aspects of biological sciences, including morphogenesis, genetics, developmental biology, physiology, biochemistry, and cell biology. An understanding of microbiology is thus fundamental to biological research. Microbiology research in the department focuses on mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis, microbial evolution, microbiome function, and metal ion homeostasis.  Immunology is not only a major biological discipline on its own, but also a critical component of disease-oriented microbiology. Immunology research in the department includes studies of basic cell and molecular biology as well as investigations into mechanisms of pathogenesis. Laboratories within the department are studying the regulation and development of the immune system, the immune response to infectious agents and cancer, the molecular and cellular bases of viral and bacterial pathogenesis, mechanisms underlying protein sorting and signal transduction, and the regulation of gene expression. Finally, molecular genetics laboratories in the department study a wide range of topics that include RNA splicing, gene therapy, stem cell biology, and muscle development.

The MIMG Department does not have its own degree-granting M.S. or Ph.D. program. Those who are interested in graduate studies in biological sciences should apply through UCLA’s Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB), a consortium of 11 home areas and their affiliated Ph.D. programs, organized to provide the best possible research training and professional development for graduate students pursuing Ph.D.s in the life and biomedical sciences.

While MIMG does not have its own degree-granting graduate program, we support graduate student research by training students in our labs. Graduate students who work with faculty in the MIMG Department are affiliated with one of several interdepartmental Ph.D. Programs offered through the GPB, primarily the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Program (MBIDP). MBIDP students receive broad training in molecular biology as well as in-depth training in their research area through a combination of coursework, journal clubs, seminars, and research. We encourage all students who are interested in training in MIMG faculty-led labs to apply for graduate studies through one of the four Home Areas that comprise the MBIDP: Immunity, Microbes, and Molecular Pathogenesis (IMMP); Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Structural Biology (BBSB); Cell & Developmental Biology (CDB); or Gene Regulation, Epigenomics, & Transcriptomics (GREAT).

Graduate students in MIMG labs use a wide array of approaches and techniques to explore the realm of molecular genetics, microbial physiology, virology, mycology, parasitology, immunology, and microbial pathogenesis. Their explorations result in both theoretical advances and practical applications, placing UCLA at the forefront of biomedical research. Graduate training in an MIMG lab prepares students for a wide variety of careers in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics, including academic positions, industrial appointments, and clinical laboratory supervision in both government agencies and private enterprises.

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