The University of Washington Department of Microbiology was founded in 1915 and the first Ph.D. was awarded in 1930. It quickly became and still remains one of the premier biological science departments in the country. The department has a national reputation for high quality teaching and an international reputation for excellence in research. The department is in the School of Medicine but it is responsible for an undergraduate microbiology major, and a graduate program. More than 30 departmental faculty serve as graduate student research advisors. While the majority of faculty members have research laboratories within the Health Sciences Building, several faculty work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Northwest Regional Primate Research Center and the UW Rosen Research Building.
Because of the revolution in biology that began in the 1970s, rapid advances in microbiology and the development of biotechnology have increased our understanding of all living systems. This has in large part been determined by studies of microorganisms. The research programs of the faculty in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington reflect exciting areas of modern microbiology. Our faculty span a broad range of interests including microbial ecology, physiology, virology, and microbial pathogenesis in both animal and plant systems. The members of our department are largely concerned with understanding the mechanisms by which organisms interact with one another and with their environment at the cellular and molecular levels. Because of the strong interdisciplinary nature of these interests, numerous collaborative efforts between our faculty and those in other science and medicine departments have developed.
The graduate student body numbers about 30, and there are similar numbers of postdoctoral fellows in the department.
The department offers a Ph.D. and participates in the School of Medicine's M.D./Ph.D. program, the Interdisciplinary Molecular and Cell Biology Program, the Nanotechnology Program, and an inter-college Astrobiology Ph.D. program