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Research

Research is fundamental to the mission of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UC Irvine's School of Medicine. Our faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized for advancing basic, clinical, epidemiological and translational research in infectious diseases and immunology. Our efforts are focused primarily in five areas:  

Infectious Diseases Research lab materials
  • HIV and other viral infections
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Bioterrorism and development of vaccines and diagnostics
  • Bacterial pathogenesis
  • Epidemiology of multidrug-resistant bacteria

HIV/AIDS

Our faculty members' investigations on HIV/AIDS include projects in basic science, clinical research and epidemiology.

Basic research led by division chief Dr. Donald Forthal is focused on understanding how antibodies interact with cells of the immune system to inhibit HIV. This research, which has led to collaborations with other UC Irvine faculty members as well as scientists across the United States and around the world, is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the state of California and industry.  

Infectious Diseases lab materials

The division's clinical research on HIV/AIDS is led by Drs. Jeremiah Tilles, Catherine Diamond and Steven Park, with primary support from the California Collaborative Treatment Group, a consortium of institutions funded by the California HIV Research Program. Dr. Stephen M. Berman also conducts HIV/AIDS clinical research at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

Other Viruses

Michael J. Buchmeier, an internationally recognized virologist, conducts basic research on emerging viral pathogens, such as SARS and arenaviruses, and on viral models of central nervous system diseases, including multiple sclerosis. Buchmeier's research also is funded by the NIH.

Emerging Infectious Diseases

Alan Barbour and Guiyun Yan are leaders in the study of arthropod-borne diseases, their ecology, evolutionary biology and host interactions.

Barbour, who directs the Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence (PSWRCE) at UC Irvine, is an international authority on tick-borne diseases caused by borrelia species.

Yan, whose primary appointment is in UC Irvine's Program in Public Health, researches the population biology of malaria vectors and malaria epidemiology.

Bioterrorism and Development of Vaccines and Diagnostics

Philip L. Felgner is a leader in the field of proteomics and in the development of vaccines and diagnostic reagents. His work, which has produced collaborations with PSWRCE, is supported by the NIH, industry and private foundations.

Bacterial Pathogenesis

Dr. Ming Tan's study of the pathogenesis of chlamydia infection is another area of research strength within the division. Tan's laboratory investigates how chlamydia regulates gene expression to cause disease as well as the potential of antimicrobial peptides to combat it. This work, funded by the NIH and the American Heart Association, involves collaborations with researchers at UC Irvine and elsewhere. 

Healthcare Epidemiology of Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria

Dr. Susan S. Huang is a national expert in the healthcare epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Huang also studies methods to improve and automate surveillance of hospital-associated infections. Her research—funded through the NIH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality—includes randomized clinical trials to evaluate high-yield interventions that reduce disease caused by resistant pathogens.

Parasitology: host-protozoan interactions

Dr. Rosa Andrade studies the roles of the thiol-dependent antioxidant systems in Toxoplasma gondii and Entamoeba histolytica which are largely unknown. Using in vitro and in vivo models, her research laboratory seeks to understand the biological roles of these systems, determine whether they are viable therapeutic targets and their role in chronic infections and host parasite interactions.