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Message from the Chair

The ongoing globalization and urbanization of human populations has contributed to a rise in immune-mediated disease and the spread of new and emerging pathogens. In the US alone, healthcare costs associated with the treatment of infectious and immune-related diseases is estimated to be greater than $200 billion/year. Although significant medical advances have been made in the diagnosis, treatment and control of these diseases, there remains a significant and important need to understand the basic biology of pathogens and the immunological mechanisms that result in pathology or that resolve disease.

The primary missions of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UAMS are: i) to improve human health by conducting innovative basic research on microbial pathogens and the immune system and ii) to educate medical students in the fields of infectious diseases and immunology, and to prepare the next generation of scientists for leadership roles in infectious and immune-mediated disease research and education. The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is comprised of faculty who are internationally recognized for their outstanding research contributions, and who have been formally acknowledged for teaching, mentoring and inspiring students in the medical sciences. Our graduate program is designed to provide students with a broad educational experience and to prepare them for productive careers in the biomedical sciences.

This is an exciting time for the Department. Along with the recent campus expansion – new UAMS hospital, new education/classroom building, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute expansion – the Department is adding new faculty. The Department is currently comprised of 16 primary faculty. We have added 9 new faculty in the past 8 years. The major areas of current research activity in the Department include; microbial pathogenesis and immunology (Borrelia, Chlamydia, Coxiella, E. coli, Staphylococcus, Yersinia, Plasmodium, gammaherpesvirus, reovirus, poxvirus, coronaviruses) and immunology/cell biology (cancer immunology, aging, immunotoxicology). With the addition of new faculty comes increased diversity of research programs and additional research opportunity for students, postdoctoral fellows and research scientists. Currently, the Department is the professional home to 16 faculty, 2 research faculty, 5 postdoctoral fellows, and 20 doctoral graduate students.

I am pleased to serve as Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology during this period of growth and expansion, and invite you to peruse our web site to learn more about our research and graduate programs, UAMS and the city of Little Rock.

Richard P. Morrison, Ph.D.