A major focus within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology is Cancer Research. Twelve primary and six secondary faculty are members of the Indiana University Cancer Center, which has recently been designated as a Clinical Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. This designation places the Indiana University Cancer Center with an elite group of centers that focus on excellent clinical care and the rapid implementation of new discoveries into the treatment of cancer.

This inter-disciplinary focus in Cancer brings together scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer. Several department faculty are studying basic molecular and cellular immunological mechanisms relevant to Tumor Immunology (Blum, Kaplan, Klemsz, Dent, Brutkiewicz). The laboratories of Drs. Broxmeyer, Pelus, and Srour, are defining molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling hematopoietic stem cell production, mobilization and homing, areas critical to Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, a curative therapy for some cancers and potentially many more. Research by departmental faculty in understanding the regulation of Human Papillomavirus gene expression and how these genes regulate host cellular responses has important implications in preventing Cervical Cancer (Roman, Brown).

The ability of cancer cells to overcome genetic mechanisms designed to control altered proliferation, i.e., Apoptosis, which imparts a survival advantage to these cells, is an active area of research by several departmental faculty (Broxmeyer, Pelus). Dr. Kao's laboratory focuses on the regulation of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) promoter in the hormonal-refractory prostate cancer and the development of gene therapy strategies.

The ability to introduce genes into cancer cells that will lead to cell death will likely result from research into the next generation of gene vectors and improved gene transfer and delivery being extensively studied by department faculty (BroxmeyerClappHaneline, Pelus). Basic science investigation at the gene, cell and whole animal levels within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and interaction with clinicians and clinician scientists in the Departments of Medicine, Urology, Pathology and Hematology/Oncology provide a unique environment to support basic and translational research.

If you wish to receive application material for our Departmental Graduate Program, please go to the How to Apply page.
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Department of Microbiology and Immunology | IU School of Medicine | 635 Barnhill Drive, MS 420 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | (317) 274-0506