The inhabitants of Earth are mostly microbes, and their activities are central to human welfare. Microbes can cause disease, but a properly functioning microbiome is essential for health. Microbes spoil food, but drive many forms of food production. Microbes mediate organismic decay, but catalyze numerous geochemical processes essential for life on Earth.

Research in the Penn Microbiology Department focuses on infectious agents that threaten global health, with an emphasis on understanding molecular mechanisms and developing key new methods. Areas of focus include pathogenic bacteria of the airway and gut, HIV/AIDS, insect- and rodent-borne viruses, herpes viruses, papillomaviruses, emerging infectious diseases and the human microbiome. On the host side, faculty study many areas of immunology related to infection, including innate and adaptive immunity, tumor immunology and vaccine development.


The B.1.1.529 variant has a concerning collection of Spike substitutions; less remarked on, it also has the nucleocapsid substitutions R203K, G204R, which have been reported to increase genome packaging and infectivity (PMID: 34735219). Worrisome.

The new SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529 looks concerning, but there is no evidence yet of this variant in the Delaware Valley. Follow the rise and fall of local lineages on our variant dashboard:

Amazing food drive turnout this year! Thanks to the Penn community for their generous donations! 🥫 https://twitter.com/PennMicro/status/1462852529184813056

Thank you for helping make our food drive a success! https://twitter.com/pennmicro/status/1462852529184813056

Thanks to the generosity of PSOM community we were able to collect 352 items for Philabundance! Congratulations to the @ewhite_lab for winning the competition with most items donated!! 🎉

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Prokaryotic Seminar
Monday, 11/29/21  4pm  209 Johnson Pav
Carter Merenstein :: Bushman Lab
Signatures of COVID-19 severity and immune response in the respiratory tract microbiome

Virology Seminar
Tuesday, 11/30/21  12pm  209 Johnson Pav
Steven Carro (Eisenlohr Lab) :: Iulia Tapescu (Cherry Lab)

Microbiology Seminar
Wednesday, 12/1/21  12pm
Melanie Hamon, PhD :: Institut Pasteur
Bacteria mediated histome modifications in health and disease”

Symposium III: Understanding COVID-19 and Addressing Disparities in Care, 1-5pm, Nov 2, 2021 (All Talks)
(sponsored by the Penn Center for Research on Coronavirus and Other Emerging Pathogens)

Symposium II: The Developing COVID-19 Epidemic, July 8, 2020 (All Talks)
(sponsored by the Penn Center for Research on Coronavirus and Other Emerging Pathogens)

Symposium I: The Coronavirus Outbreak, April 3, 2020 (All Talks)
(sponsored by the Penn Center for Research on Coronavirus and Other Emerging Pathogens)