Infectious disease has been a key area of investigation since the founding of our department, leveraging UC Davis’ unique resources. Our founding chair, Robert Stowell, M.D,, Ph.D., studied infectious and tropical diseases during his tenure as head of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. In the late 1980s and the 1990s, UC Davis scientists, including faculty from Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, played important roles in understanding HIV infection, AIDS, and other retroviral infections by identifying simian and feline immunodeficiency viruses. Our faculty, along with others at UC Davis, advanced knowledge of the natural history of both the AIDS viruses, including mechanisms of cross-species transmission and the role of the immune systems in fighting these viruses.

Currently, research efforts within the department include the role of microbiota in the development of disease in many organ systems, the contributions of the immune response in cancer development, and new diagnostic methods and approaches to detect infection.  The department has been a clinical research leader in research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Department faculty members pursuing research in infectious disease are associated with many other departments in our Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine; California National Primate Research Center; the Mouse Biology Program; Mutant Mouse Pathology Laboratory; Comprehensive Cancer Center; Center for Biophotonics; and more.

Meet our faculty members pursuing research in immunology and infectious diseases: