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Johns Hopkins University

Immunology Program

Baltimore, MD


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The Immunology Program at JHU School of Medicine is Interdisciplinary, Research-Focused, and Results in a Ph.D. Degree

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's immunology program started in 1982 with two students and five faculty members. Currently, the department boasts 35 students and 36 faculty members.

The Graduate Program in Immunology works with the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics to provide a multidisciplinary program of study leading to the Ph.D. degree in immunology. There are several new immunology initiatives in basic sciences, cellular engineering, autoimmunity, and cancer immunology, all of which will mean even more opportunities for students to do cutting edge immunology research at Hopkins.

The mission of the Immunology Training Program is to provide outstanding pre-doctoral training in the field of immunology. The program seeks to provide trainees with the ability to identify significant research questions in immunology, to find solutions to these questions, to think broadly and creatively about biological problems, and to communicate ideas effectively to others.

The goal is to train the next generation of immunologists who, through active scholarship, contribute to the generation of new knowledge on the basic mechanisms of the immune system and the application of this knowledge to the understanding and treatment of disease. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine accomplishes this mission by selecting and supporting qualified trainees, providing relevant didactic coursework, and through the participation of highly qualified faculty who are skilled mentors and accomplished researchers in immunology.

Close interaction with faculty and a high faculty/student ratio are important features of the program. Students interact closely with the large graduate student body at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and have access to the faculty and facilities of all the basic science and clinical departments.

The Hopkins Immunology Community offers a weekly seminar series to which national and international experts are invited. There are also informal weekly research conferences where pre- and post-doctoral trainees present their latest research. We also have an annual off-site retreat involving trainee presentations, invited speakers and opportunities to network with program alumni.

The coursework in the first year is grounded in basic molecular, biochemical, and cellular biology in addition to courses on basic immunology. There are also a number of small seminar-style elective courses in advanced immunology led by faculty leaders in specific areas of research who are invited to discuss topics of current interest with students. In addition to the required courses, students must take a total of four electives during their graduate studies.

For their dissertations, students choose a research topic being studied by a faculty member. These range widely, and include: the mechanisms of antigen recognition by T cells, the immunobiology of AIDS or HepC, lymphocyte signaling pathways, immune-cell development, anti-tumor immunity; immunoglobulin gene rearrangement and mutation, immuno-engineering, immunologic approaches to the treatment of cancer; dendritic cell biology, mechanisms of transplant rejection, autoimmune disease mechanisms, antigen processing, innate immunity and signaling, the adaptive response to infectious agents, viral immunology, invertebrate immunology and mechanisms of immunologic tolerance. This list is constantly evolving and span the breadth of the immunology field.

Johns Hopkins Immunology Gives Students State-of-the-Art Laboratories and Equipment with Which to Conduct Research

The immunology program at Johns Hopkins is based around a strong research dissertation. For this reason, the program is committed to providing students with high-quality laboratories where graduate students have access to modern equipment and can use cutting-edge techniques in biomedical sciences as applied to basic and translational immunology.

These facilities include state-of-the-art core units for proteomics; mass spectroscopy; genomics, including genetic mapping and gene expression; bioinformatics; protein structure determination; cell imaging; and flow cytometry. In addition, each lab is fully equipped to conduct studies on the immune system, using cellular, biochemical, and molecular biological approaches.

Research is not only required for the dissertation thesis, but is also a component of the graduate program beginning from the very first year. All students take on three short-term research projects in their initial year, with rotations beginning every three months starting in September. Each project lasts for three months, during which students work with a faculty member to learn more about research under laboratory conditions. These research projects give students an opportunity to learn more about various areas of immunology before choosing a specialization area for a research project and final thesis.

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Immunology Faculty Have a Wide Range of Research Interests and Expertise

The graduate program in immunology at Johns Hopkins is grounded in the highly qualified and successful faculty. All faculty members are not only accomplished immunology researchers in their own right, but also skilled mentors and eager to help students with research. Students can expect a close interaction with faculty thanks to the low student-to-faculty ratio.

Faculty interests run the gamut of immunology research, ranging from basic issues such as the mechanisms of somatic hypermutation and hypervariability in B cells, T cell recognition, molecular mechanisms of MHC-peptide interactions, and lymphocyte signaling to translatable research in the fields of cancer vaccines, engineered immunity, allergy, infectious disease, autoimmunity, and transplantation.

Student and faculty also interact freely and daily with a range of accomplished colleagues in the basic and applied biomedical sciences. This produces a rich environment for learning, discovery, and developing the next generation of scientific leaders.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 1
Doctoral Degrees 12

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? No
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? No
Terminal master's degree available? No

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required
Oral exam, final thesis seminar


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline January 10th Not reported No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements 2 letters of recommendation

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL Paper score: 550

Tuition & Fees

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Tuition & Fees

Tuition & Fees
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Financial Support

Application deadlines for financial awards January 1
Types of financial support available Fellowships
Health Care Benefits
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Male (40%)
Female (60%)


Focus of faculty research: HIV immunity, tumor immunity, major histocompatibility complex, transplantation, genetics of antibodies and T-cell receptors; immune response to infectious agents; antigen recognition; immune regulation; autoimmune diseases; immune cell signaling
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address 3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD  21218
United States
Contact Dr. L. Mario Amzel
Phone: 410-955-3955
Fax: 410-550-2072

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Johns Hopkins University
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