Infectious Diseases and Immunity

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Graduate Group in Infectious Diseases and Immunity provides an opportunity for the study of the biology of infectious agents, their interaction with human and other hosts, and their relationship with the environment. The PhD program is unique in its emphasis on integrated multidisciplinary training in host-pathogen environmental interactions. Important areas of inquiry include the biology of host-pathogen interactions, molecular and cellular aspects of pathogenesis, the ecology and evolution of disease agents, environmental factors in transmission, intermediate hosts and vectors, the biology of surveillance and epidemiological analysis, vaccine and drug development, and public health practices for disease prevention and control.

The objective of this program is to provide students with research-oriented pursuits that will train them to design and implement independent investigations. The goal is to promote health by integration of basic research and applied technologies for the development of new approaches for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and control of infectious disease in humans.

Students matriculating through this program will acquire expertise in fundamental infectious disease research and thus are well prepared for careers in academia, governmental agencies, and biotechnology. For admission requirements and application process, please visit both the IDI website and School of Public Health website for details. Application deadline: December 1st for the following year fall semester admission.

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Admission to the University

The Infectious Diseases and Immunity PhD program is administered by the School of Public Health. We follow the School's application process and procedure. Please visit the School of Public Health website for Admission application details.  Applications are submitted through SOPHAS. We strongly encouraged applicants to complete their application early, to meet the deadline for application on December 1st of each year. We will start to review applications in mid December.

After you submit your application through SOPHAS, you will receive an email notification with instructions to submit additional payment through the Graduate Division Admission Portal.

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Doctoral Degree Requirements


Courses Required
PB HLTH 260APrinciples of Infectious Diseases4
Choose one of the following:
PB HLTH 260BPrinciples of Infectious Diseases4
PB HLTH 265Molecular Parasitology3
PB HLTH 266BZoonotic Diseases2
PB HLTH 275Current Topics in Vaccinology2
IMMUNOLOGY (1 course):
Public Health Immunology [3-4]
Advanced Immunology
Statistical Analysis of Continuous Outcome Data [4]
Introduction to Multivariate Statistics
Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases [2]
Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
RESEARCH (2 courses):
Doctoral Seminar [1] (IDI Monday Doctoral Seminar every seminar until graduation)
Doctoral Seminar [2] (IDI Wednesday Doctoral Seminar for pre-QE IDI PhD students, though other IDI PhD students are welcome)
The above are the minimum coursework requirements for graduation. Students should complete a minimum of 30 units of graduate-level courses (core required courses plus a few additional electives pertaining to the student's research interest) in additional to the Doctoral Seminars to graduate. Electives include but are not limited to: PB HLTH 260F, PB HLTH 262, PB HLTH 266A, PB HLTH 275, MCELLBI 230 and MCELLBI 259J.
PB HLTH 265Molecular Parasitology3
PB HLTH 266BZoonotic Diseases2

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Gregory M. Barton, Associate Professor. Immunology, cell biology, infectious disease, innate immunity.
Research Profile

Steven Brenner, Professor. Molecular biology, computational biology, evolutionary biology, bioengineering, structural genomics, computational genomics, cellular activity, cellular functions, personal genomics.
Research Profile

Gertrude Case Buehring, Professor. Public health, use of cells in breast fluids for diagnostic purposes, viruses and human cancer, role of bovine leukemia virus in causing human breast cancer.
Research Profile

Laurent Coscoy, Associate Professor. Immunology, viruses, viral infection, immune responses, immune evasion.
Research Profile

Jeffrey Cox, Professor. C.H. Li Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Endocrinology, Professor of Immunology and Pathogenesis.
Research Profile

Michel DuPage, Assistant Professor. Immunology & Patheogenesis.
Research Profile

Suzanne Fleiszig, Professor. Immunology, eye, microbiology, infectious disease, corneal physiology, tear film physiology, bacterial pathogenesis, contact lenses, pseudomonas aeruginosa, epithelial cell biology, innate immunity.
Research Profile

Wayne Marcus Getz, Professor. Africa, disease ecology, wildlife conservation, resource management.
Research Profile

Britt Glaunsinger, Associate Professor. Virology, gene expression, herpesvirus.
Research Profile

Karsten Gronert, Professor. Inflammatory diseases, innate immune responses, lipid mediators, lipidomics, leukocytes, inflammatory resolution, eicosanoids, fish oils, omega-3 PUFA, Dry Eye, Keratitis, wound healing, lipxoygenase, cycloooxygenase, resolution pharmacology.
Research Profile

Eva Harris, Professor. Public health, infectious diseases.
Research Profile

Amy Herr, Associate Professor. Microfluidics, bioanalytical separations, diagnostics, electrokinetic transport, engineering design.
Research Profile

Luke Lee, Professor. Biophotonics, biophysics, bionanoscience, molecular imaging, single cell analysis, bio-nano interfaces, integrated microfluidic devices (iMD) for diagnostics and preventive personalized medicine.
Research Profile

Fenyong Liu, Professor. Public health, infectious diseases.
Research Profile

Sangwei Lu, Adjunct Professor. Pathogenesis and Transmission of Salmonella, Foodborne Pathogens, Foodborne Diseases-Detection and Prevention.
Research Profile

Terry Machen, Professor. Physiology pathophysiology secretory epithelial cells, airway, ion transport, cell regulationm, imaging microscopy, calcium pH redox, electrophysiology, green fluorescent protein, genetic targeting, innate immune defense.
Research Profile

Kara L. Nelson, Professor. Water and wastewater treatment, water reuse, detection and inactivation of pathogens in water and sludge, appropriate technologies.
Research Profile

Daniel A. Portnoy, Professor. Mammalian cells, molecular and cellular basis of microbial pathogenesis, defense against infection, listeria monocytogenes, cell biology of infection, mechanisms of secretion.
Research Profile

Arthur L. Reingold, Professor. Public health, epidemiology, infectious diseases, biostatistics.
Research Profile

+ Vincent H. Resh, Professor. Ecology, water resources, pollution, monitoring, water-borne diseases.
Research Profile

Lee Riley, Professor. Public health, infectious diseases, molecular epidemiology, global health, tuberculosis, drug-resistant infections, slum health.
Research Profile

Ellen Robey, Professor. Fate determination in the T-lymphocyte lineage, T cell development in the mouse, thymic development, cellular maturation, parasitic infection, chronic infection, host-pathogen interactions, Toxoplasma gondii.
Research Profile

Kimberly Seed, Assistant Professor.
Research Profile

George Sensabaugh, Professor Emeritus. Molecular epidemiology, microbial population genetics, forensic science, forensic biology.
Research Profile

+ Nilabh Shastri, Professor. Cancer cells, mechanims of immunesurveillance, microbial pathogens, antigen genes, autoimmunity.
Research Profile

Kimmen Sjolander, Professor. Computational biology, algorithms, phylogenetic tree reconstruction, protein structure prediction, multiple sequence alignment, evolution, bioinformatics, hidden Markov models, metagenomics, statistical modeling, phylogenomics, emerging and neglected diseases, machine-learning, genome annotation, metagenome annotation, systems biology, functional site prediction, ortholog identification.
Research Profile

Sarah Stanley, Assistant Professor.

Richard S. Stephens, Professor. Molecular genetics, microbiology, infectious disease, pathogenesis.
Research Profile

John Taylor, Professor. Evolution, fungi, phylogenomics, mycology, population genomics.
Research Profile

Russell E. Vance, Associate Professor. Immunology, microbiology, infectious disease, molecular and cell biology.
Research Profile

Matthew D. Welch, Professor. Biology, cell motility, the role of the actin cytoskeleton in cell locomotion, shape change, actin filament assembly, bacterial and viral pathogens.
Research Profile

Qiang Zhou, Professor. Biochemistry of HIV gene expression, transcriptional elongation, Tat activation, stage of transcriptional elongation, HIV replication, anti-HIV therapy.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Graduate Group in Infectious Diseases and Immunity

2220-18, Berkeley Way West, Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360

Phone: 510-642-2613

Visit Group Website

Program Head, Graduate Group of Infectious Diseases and Immunity

Eva Harris, PhD

500D Li Ka Shing Center

Phone: 510-642-4845

Division Manager - Division of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology

Teresa Liu

2220-18 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-642-2613

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