Department History


Throughout its history, the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (IID) has made fundamental contributions that have revealed deep insights into major viral, bacterial, and protozoan diseases, including the vectors that transmit disease, propelling our knowledge of a multitude of infections that impact human health.

This work has spanned multiple disciplines, bringing together the best tools, technologies, and scientific minds from across the biological, immunological, epidemiological, and ecological sciences. Importantly, it has also paved the way for improved diagnostic tools, the development of vaccines and other interventions for disease control and prevention, and the identification of new drug targets.

This pioneering work continues today. In the modern world, infectious diseases remain a major threat to public health. With IID’s remarkable legacy of innovation, the combined expertise of the distinguished faculty, and the power of modern tools — genomic and other systems-level approaches, high-resolution imaging, and advanced computational methods, to name just a few — the Department is poised to address the most pressing public health challenges, head-on, through basic science discoveries.

While many historic discoveries in infectious disease harnessed knowledge from various public health disciplines, none would have emerged without fundamental studies of the biological, chemical, and genetic factors that influence disease. Such forays in basic science, while insufficient on their own to improve health, are a cornerstone of efforts to understand, treat, prevent, and ideally eradicate infectious disease.