Department of Immunobiology

The Department of Immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine is a multidisciplinary group of 30 faculty and more than 200 scientists-in-training and staff committed to understanding all aspects of the immune system. Research interests encompass basic mechanisms of immune system development, function, and regulation, and the human immune system’s role in health and disease. Two central principles guide research and training: First, that a fundamental understanding of immune mechanisms is the essential foundation for understanding and treating human disease; and second, that scientific research advances most rapidly and effectively when a diverse team of individuals with complementary expertise collaborate in an interactive and supportive environment.

Department faculty are internationally recognized leaders in basic, translational, and computational immunology. Departmental research has established paradigms in immune system organization and mechanisms, including the discovery of the innate immune system, and has revealed new principles underlying human disease and immune disorders, particularly in autoimmunity, inflammation, and cancer.

In 2006, the department created the Section of Human and Translational Immunology (HTI), whose mission is to apply discoveries in immunology to the study of the human immune system and treatment of human disease. HTI is the core of a university-wide Program in Human and Translational Immunology that connects faculty and trainees from more than a dozen departments, and nucleates collaborative work in human immunology and disease among basic, translational, and clinical scientists. HTI conducts its own annual retreat and oversees a seminar series featuring presentations on many aspects of human immunology. 

The majority of immunobiology faculty work in The Anlyan Center (TAC) and many of the other laboratories are located nearby, particularly in the Amistad and 300 George Street buildings. The department is currently led by David Schatz, who has been chairperson since 2016, and vice-chairs Akiko Iwasaki and Jordan Pober.

Training in Immunobiology

The Department of Immunobiology provides a highly interdisciplinary, interactive, and collaborative training environment. Trainees at all levels—undergraduates, medical students, graduate students, postdocs, and fellows—often undertake research training in multiple laboratories, allowing them to meet and work alongside many other scientists and to acquire a variety of technical skills and conceptual expertise to apply to focused problems.

The Yale Immunobiology graduate program is one of the top-ranked programs in the country, and draws its students from Yale’s Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) and MD-PhD programs. Graduate students study fundamental principles of basic and human immunology and conduct an independent research project that forms the basis of a PhD thesis and also typically leads to multiple journal publications. Students receive research and career mentoring from many sources, including faculty advisors and PhD thesis committees. Postdocs also have access to courses and training in scientific presentation and career development. In addition, all trainees present their work in a Research in Progress seminar series, participate in annual retreats, and attend seminars at which the research of outside experts or fellow trainees is presented and critiqued. Trainees also have at their disposal the considerable intellectual resources of Yale University.


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