Department of Microbiology & Immunology

MUSC College of Medicine

Department of Microbiology & Immunology

`Welcome to the Department of Microbiology & Immunology!

The Department of Microbiology & Immunology works to understand and eliminate disease-causing microbes; and elucidate mechanisms and harness the power of the host immune system to fight against infections, cancer, and other diseases. Faculty and staff concentrate on the following fields of study: cancer immunology; immunogenetics; innate immunity; inflammation; autoimmunity; microbiology; and transplant immunology. Currently we have 15 primary faculty members, 16 joint-appointees, 4 adjunct-appointees and 5 Professors Emeritus. Our sponsored research stands at $14.4M, of which $10.2M (71%) is from Federal funding. New extramural funding this FY includes 3 R01s, 3 R21s, an R50 (for which a Research Specialist III is Principal Investigator), 2 VA grants, 1 DOD grant, and 4 Foundation or Corporate Awards. Additionally, investments in furthering tumor immunology and translational immunotherapy research allowed us to establish a program to fund time of flight mass spectrometry pilot projects with aims to develop high-quality preliminary data for publications and external grant applications.

The Department maintains strong collaborative ties with the National Cancer Institute-designated Hollings Cancer Center through the Cancer Immunology Research Program, which allows us to have access to the state-of-the-art research facilities including a flow cytometry core, transgenic, and gene-targeting core, tissue repository core, drug discovery core, and the Center for Cellular Therapy core. To understand the impact of microbiota to health and diseases, the research in our department is also supported by a unique Gnotobiotic Core in close collaboration with the College of Dental Medicine. The Department has recently established the Immune Monitoring and Discovery (IMD) Core which contains a FlexMap3D multiplexing platform and the state-of-art mass cytometry-based cellular analysis instrumentation, Helios (CyTOF). Core functions include custom development of new reagents and immunoassays, guidance on selecting existing assays, and awareness/training on new immunoassay platforms.

We pursue our research goals in a programmatic and multidisciplinary fashion with the aim of improving our knowledge of the fundamentals and molecular mechanisms involved in the immune response and microbial pathogenesis, while keeping the clinical translation of this research within our vision.

Our robust research activity is a perfect complement to our education program, which features graduate courses as well as medical and dental education. Our Distinguished Seminar Series allows us to invite visiting professors and guest lecturers from the leading institutes and biotech companies around the country. In recognition of educational excellence, members of our faculty have received teaching awards and several students and postdocs were accepted to T32 trainee programs. Additionally, the Department was recently awarded a prestigious T32 Award from NIAID titled “Program in Immunology Research and Entrepreneurship (PIRE)." The Program was developed to train postdoctoral fellows in immunology with an emphasis on translation, biomedical innovation and entrepreneurship; and address the need to empower our future immunology research workforce with the competencies necessary to commercialize scientific discoveries.

Please feel free to contact us for questions regarding our research, education, and programs.

Photo of Dr. Stephen Tomlinson

Stephen Tomlinson, Ph.D.
Professor and Interim Chair

About the Department

The vision of our department is to build on the department’s current and historic strengths: Cancer Immunology, Transplant Immunology, host-pathogen interactions, autoimmunity and some new directions in neuro/lung inflammation, and to be recognized nationally and internationally for our research and educational programs. Our initiatives include new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of these human diseases.

The mission of our department is to advance science with the goal of preventing, treating and curing disease. We conduct groundbreaking biomedical and clinical research, leading to the discovery and development of treatments for human health improvement in these areas. Our department focuses on the five aforementioned areas of research and teaching excellence. We participate in the training and education of MS, PhD, and MSTP students in the MUSC College of Graduate Studies, MD students in the College of Medicine, and DMD students in the College of Dental Medicine.  Through interactions with clinical departments and centers, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology faculty and students have a proven track record of translating their laboratory discoveries into the development of novel therapies and diagnostics for human health. Please visit our other web pages for more information on our research and education.

Contact Us

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Basic Sciences Building
173 Ashley Avenue, 
Suite 203. MSC 504
Charleston, SC 29425
Fax: 843-792-4882

Erika M. Jenkins-Singleton
Administrative Coordinator I
Phone: 843-792-8509

Penny Koh
Grants Administrator II
Phone: 843-792-1259 

Fiscal Tech II
Phone: 843-792-5381