Microbial pathogens include bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites and together account for a significant percentage of acute and chronic human diseases. In addition to understanding the mechanisms by which various pathogens cause human disease, research in microbial pathogenesis also addresses mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance and the development of new antimicrobial agents and vaccines. Answering fundamental questions regarding host-microbe interactions requires an interdisciplinary approach, including microbiology, genomics, informatics, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, immunology, and epidemiology. 

The core curriculum will provide the major foundation for graduate students in microbial pathogenesis, while the specialized courses, seminars, and journal clubs will allow students to gain a more in-depth understanding of microbes and innate and specific immune defenses that are critical to a complete understanding of the interplay between host and microbe.


Brian Ahmer, PhD, and Jacob Yount, PhD
Faculty Liaisons

Program Curriculum


All students requesting the transcript designation of microbial pathogenesis and participating in a non-virology-focused laboratory will be required to register for BSGP 7240. Those in a virology-focused laboratory will be required to register for MVIMG 7741. Including these required courses, students must register in relevant classes to reach a total of 10 credit hours beyond the core BSGP curriculum. Five of these credits should be in didactic elective courses and five credits should be in journal club/discussion courses.

Didactic Electives

  • BSGP 7240 Molecular Pathogenesis (3 credits): In-depth presentation and discussion of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of pathogenesis, emphasizing current research in the field. Cross-listed as Micro 7724.  
  • MICRBIO 7020 Physiology meets Pathogenesis (2 credits): The physiological basis for growth and virulence of microbes in the host.
  • MICRBIO 7010 Cellular and Molecular Immunology (3 credits): Cellular and molecular mechanisms of immune response, cell recognition and communication, molecular biology of cell recognition structures, cytokines, and effector mechanisms. Cross-listed as MVIMG 7010.
  • CBG 7741 Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis of Viruses (5 credits): An integrated study of the molecular mechanisms of virus replication and host-virus relationships that control virus pathogenesis or use as a therapeutic agent. Cross listed as MolGen 7540 and in VetBios.
  • MICRBIO 6020 Microbial Physiology and Biochemistry (3 credits): Principles of microbial growth, metabolism, microbial structure and function, regulation of microbial metabolism and an introduction to the diversity of microorganisms.
  • MEDMCIM 6600 Pathobiology of Cystic Fibrosis (3 credits): From diagnosis and clinical manifestations to the growing understanding that CF is a globally underrecognized disease, learners will explore the genetics and basic physiology of the CF transmembrane receptor (CFTR) ion channel and how impaired function impacts airway health, inflammation, infection, and immune cell function. In understanding these mechanisms in relation to complex polymicrobial lung infections, learners will decipher the complexity of health and disease in people with CF.

Journal Club and/or Discussion Electives

  • BSGP 7950 Host-Pathogen Interactions: Research Seminar (1 credit): Students and outside speakers will give research presentations on microbial-host interactions.
  • BSGP 7400/7402 Selected Topics in Microbial Pathogenesis (2 credits): Student led discussion of specific aspects of current and classic literature.
  • BSGP 8510 Advanced Seminar in Integrated Biomedical Science (1 credit): Interdisciplinary biomedical topics will be reviewed in depth with student participation in analyzing literature, and faculty and outside experts presenting their own original research. Available when relevant to microbial pathogenesis.
  • CBG 8142 Current Topics Immunology (1 credit): Journal club format course discussing immunology from a historical perspective, identifying critical discoveries that provide an understanding of how the immune system functions and how these findings influence our research methods and concepts today. Cross-listed as Micro 8142 and VetBios 8142.
  • MDMCIM 5500/7500 Recent Discoveries in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis (1 credit, AU): Students learn by searching and reading research articles and becoming familiar with the research of the Microbial Infection and Immunity Seminar Series (MIISS) speaker. Instructor: Mark Drew (drew.47@osu.edu).
  • MEDMCIM 7400 Current Topics in Virus Host Interactions (1 credit): Members of the Viruses and Emerging Pathogens thematic area of the Ohio State Infectious Disease Institute will present seminars on their cutting-edge virology research followed by a discussion.