Medical Microbiology and Immunology


Winners announced for the Graduate Research Forum poster and oral presentations 

Participants pictured with the keynote speaker, Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, Professor of Biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

The Council of Biomedical Graduate Students (CBGS) recently presented the Graduate Research Forum. Thank you to all of the students who registered for the forum and the faculty members and post-docs who volunteered to judge the virtual sessions. 

See the full list of winners and read the abstract booklet

MMI Faculty Member Receives AHA Career Development Award

Laura Mike

Congratulations to Dr. Laura Mike, assistant professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology who has received an American Heart Association (AHA) Career Development Award for her project titled, “Metabolic and surface-exposed determinants of K. pneumoniae bloodstream dissemination.”   This three-year award begins April 1, 2023.  


These competitive awards provide support for highly promising early-career healthcare and academic professionals to explore innovative questions or pilot studies, which will provide preliminary data and training necessary to assure the applicant’s future success as a research scientist.

Congratulations to the 2022 MMI Graduate Student Awardees

          Sukanya Chakravarty, Iluja Gautam, Sara Moore, Smrithi Sugumaran Menon

The Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology has announced this year's awardees for the MMI Graduate Student Awards:

MMI Research Scholar Award (MMIRSA)

  • Sara Moore (MD/PhD student in the lab of Dr. Viviana Ferreira)
  • Smrithi Sugumaran Menon (PhD student in the lab of Dr. Viviana Ferreira)

MMI Research Fellowship Award (MMIRFA)

  • Sukanya Chakravarty (PhD student in the lab of Dr. Saurabh Chattopadhyay)
  • Iluja Gautam (PhD student in the lab of Dr. Randall Worth)
  • Smrithi Sugumaran Menon (PhD student in the lab of Dr. Viviana Ferreira)

Congratulations to the awardees and their PIs on this achievement!

The MMIRSA award serves to encourage and increase MMI graduate student publications and pre-doctoral fellowship submissions.   More information on the award can be found at this link.

Congratulations to Shumin Fan for her article titled, "Pandemic leads to new discoveries about sewages"

published in the Toledo Blade on March 6, 2023

Shumin Fan

Read the Article

MMI faculty member spends six months learning, collaborating at University of Technology Sydney 

Matson Australia

Dr. Jyl Matson, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, spent six months in 2022 on sabbatical (faculty improvement leave) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), in Sydney, Australia.

During her time at UTS, Dr. Matson collaborated with Professor Diane McDougald and the Microbial Ecology and Evolution group located at the Australian Institute for Microbiology and Infection. The McDougald lab previously demonstrated that Vibrio cholerae, the bacterial cause of epidemic cholera, can survive predation by protozoa in the environment, and that the surviving bacteria show increased infectivity. This suggests that this interaction may be critically important for environmental persistence, transmission, and infectivity of cholera. Therefore, Dr. Matson spent her sabbatical leave learning this model system and investigating the genetic requirements for V. cholerae survival in the protozoa.

Now that she has returned to UToledo, Dr. Matson is working on establishing the protozoa model in her own lab and aims to use it to better understand how stress response mechanisms contribute to bacterial survival.

In addition to performing laboratory research, Dr. Matson was invited to give seminars at three events hosted by the greater Sydney Microbiology community during her stay.

Welcome back, Dr. Matson!  

Joshua Breidenbach, Ph.D.

Josh Breidenbach

February 16, 2023


Congratulations! Joshua Breidenbach successfully defended his dissertation titled: "Harmful algal bloom toxin aerosol exposure and airway inflammation."
Advisor: Steven Haller, Ph.D.

Future Plans:  Josh has accepted a PostDoc position at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico.


The Blade: What Happens to Us After Long-Term Exposure to Algal Toxins? It's Still Unclear

Dr. Jason Huntley, a professor of microbiology, Dr. David Kennedy, an associate professor of medicine, and Dr. Steven Haller, an associate professor of medicine, discuss the impact of toxic algae exposure on the health of humans and animals.


Read the Article

Smrithi Sugumaran Menon, Ph.D.

Smrithi Sugumaran Menon

January 27, 2023



Smrithi Sugumaran Menon successfully defended her dissertation titled: "Mechanisms by which Factor H protects Trypanosoma cruzi from the alternative pathway of complement."

Advisor: Viviana P. Ferreira, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Future Plans:  Smrithi has accepted a post-doctoral position at St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital.

Congratulations to Justin Franco for his article titled, "UT doctoral student investigates how to help cells fight coronavirus"

published in the Toledo Blade on January 2, 2023

 Justin Franco Toledo Blade

Read the Article

SACNAS Graduate Fair

Ferreira and Franco

Dr. Viviana Ferreira, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and M.D./Ph.D. student Justin Franco were in Puerto Rico this past fall to attend the graduate fair and conference for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).  They are pictured above standing in front of our college's booth.

Dr. Ferreira reports that this expansive conference's registrants included more than 1,700 professionals, 125 post docs, 1,500 exhibitors and 5,900 general attendees – 3,000 of which are students.

Thank you for representing UToledo at this important event! 

Return to Medical Microbiology & Immunology



2017     2016


Last Updated: 1/31/24