Welcome to the Department of Microbiology

Our mission is to educate students and conduct research across the breadth of modern microbiology. Microbiology is the study of small organisms, mostly microscopic, including bacteria, archaea, small eukaryotes including phytoplankton, zooplankton, parasites and fungi, and viruses. Future Microbiologists will help to control emerging and reemerging infectious diseases; 
harness microbes to produce green chemicals or to convert biowaste to energy; learn the environmental roles of the uncultured bacterial and archaeal majority on Earth; 
and decipher the functions of the many unique genes found in prokaryotic and bacteriophage genomes.

Microbes of various types are everywhere on Earth and many cause disease making the study of pathogenic microbes and host immunity systems a cornerstone of medicine and public health.  Other microbes are beneficial, either through mutualistic interactions with their host animal or plant, or through their contributions to nutrient cycling and genetic evolution in the environment.  Since 1910, one-third of Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology have been awarded to microbiologists.   Microbes occupy an incredible range of habitats in the environment, from the oceans and soils to plant leaf surfaces, and including such inhospitable sites as deep-sea rock microfissures, and locales high in salt, temperature, and pressure.