Close Menu

Med Microbiology & Immunology

The Intersection of Microbial Pathogens & Host Defense

The Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Creighton University School of Medicine is involved in research and teaching that relates to the intersection between microbial pathogenesis and host defense. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including an Illumina MiSeq routinely used for both basic science and clinical studies involving microbial whole genome sequencing and flow cytometry with a Becton Dickinson FACSCalibur and unique Becton Dickinson FACSAria configuration.

We’re an enthusiastic group of faculty, staff, post-doctorates and students working in an environment where individual and collective achievement through publications and presentations is encouraged.


There are usually between 7 and 10 graduate students in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology.  Additional information can be found on the student Facebook page.

Cost of Study

Financial Aid 

Financial aid is generally available in the form of stipends and/or remission of tuition.


Completed applications must be on file with the Graduate School on or before February 1 for consideration for admission in the fall semester. Applications should include transcripts, scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations, and three letters of recommendation. Written correspondence should be addressed to:

Patrick C. Swanson, PhD
patrickswanson@creighton. edu
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Creighton University School of Medicine
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, Nebraska 68178

Research Facilities

The department occupies 16,000 square feet of space in modern buildings. More than three-quarters of the available space is used for research laboratories, which are completely equipped with all essential facilities, including a BSL-3 biocontainment facility. There is also a centrally located departmental pool of major equipment. Ample space is provided for each student. Well-appointed animal quarters and an animal operating room are available. Our affiliated Clinical Microbiology Laboratory is well equipped for extensive instruction in diagnostic microbiology, immunopathology, and viral serology. The Health Sciences Library has more than 210,000 volumes and currently receives 1,600 serials.


Department News


  • Dr. Jason Bartz and Dr. Tony Kincaid have received a $2.44 million five-year NIH grant to look more closely at infectious prion proteins.
  • Dr. Richard Goering has received a $500,000 three-year UAE-NIH grant to study the epidemiology of MRSA in Dubai.
  • Dr. Travis Bourret has received a new $1.8 million four-year NIH grant to study how bacteria causing Lyme disease sense and respond to the environment in a manner that permits it to be transmitted by ticks to humans. 
  • Dr. Qi Yuan has received a new $250,000 USDA grant to study environmental factors influencing the persistence and spread of prions (e.g., chronic wasting disease) in natural settings.
  • Dr. Patrick Swanson has received a new $250,000 NIH grant to purchase a Bigfoot Cell Sorter and a $383,000 NIH grant supporting his research on mechanisms of immune repertoire diversification. 
  • Dr. Sudhanva Kashyap has received a new $400,000 NIH grant to study parasitic antiparasitic drug targets.


  • Streck Laboratories recently named a conference room in honor of Dr. Nancy Hanson in recognition of her pioneer work in the development of molecular diagnostics for antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens.
  • Dr. Patrick Swanson recently received the School of Medicine Distinguished Research Career Award.
  • Dr. Jason Bartz received the 2024 Creighton University Dr. Robert Heaney Graduate Mentor Award.
  • Dr. Richard Goering was interviewed on local television regarding his publication of research on ”stealth” MRSA.
  • Dr. Jason Bartz recently discussed his work on prion proteins and spongiform encephalopathy in an American Society for Microbiology “Meet the Microbiologist” podcast.  Dr. Bartz was also recently appointed to the University of Minnesota Chronic Wasting Disease Resource Center as one of 14 international experts.

Recent departmental publications (more detailed information can be found on individual faculty pages):

Woerman AL, Bartz JC. Effect of host and strain factors on à-synuclein prion pathogenesis. Trends Neurosci. 2024 May 27:S0166-2236(24)00084-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2024.05.004. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38806297.

Schwabenlander MD, Bartz JC, Carstensen M, Fameli A, Glaser L, Larsen RJ, Li M, Shoemaker RL, Rowden G, Stone S, Walter WD, Wolf TM, Larsen PA. Prion forensics: a multidisciplinary approach to investigate CWD at an illegal deer carcass disposal site. Prion. 2024 Dec;18(1):72-86. doi: 10.1080/19336896.2024.2343298. Epub 2024 Apr 26. PMID: 38676289; PMCID: PMC11057675.

Bartz JC, Benavente R, Caughey B, Christensen S, Herbst A, Hoover EA, Mathiason CK, McKenzie D, Morales R, Schwabenlander MD, Walsh DP, The Nc North American Interdisciplinary Chronic Wasting Disease Research Consortium Members. Chronic Wasting Disease: State of the Science. Pathogens. 2024 Feb 2;13(2):138. doi: 10.3390/pathogens13020138. PMID: 38392876; PMCID: PMC10892334.

Nguyen BT, Chapman NM, Johnson N, Stessman HAF, Tracy S, Drescher KM. Complete sequence of the closed circular extrachromosomal element ofÿNaegleria pringsheimiÿDe Jonckheere (strain Singh). Microbiol Resour Announc. 2024 Apr 11;13(4):e0080623. doi: 10.1128/mra.00806-23. Epub 2024 Mar 21. PMID: 38509051; PMCID: PMC11008152.

Nguyen BT, Chapman NM, Johnson N, Stessman HAF, Tracy S, Drescher KM. Complete sequence of the closed circular extrachromosomal element (CERE) ofÿNaegleria australiensisÿDe Jonckheere (strain PP 397). Microbiol Resour Announc. 2023 Oct 19;12(10):e0032123. doi: 10.1128/MRA.00321-23. Epub 2023 Sep 26. PMID: 37750728; PMCID: PMC10586121.

Gaber Y, TumAllah HM, AbdelAllah NH, Al-Zereini WA, Abu-Lubad MA, Aqel AA, Elkhatib WF, Goering RV, Soliman AM. Emergence and Genomic Characterization of aÿspaÿType t4407 ST6-SCCmecÿType IVa Methicillin-ResistantÿStaphylococcus aureusÿStrain Isolated from Al-Karak Hospital, Jordan. Medicina (Kaunas). 2024 Feb 9;60(2):295. doi: 10.3390/medicina60020295. PMID: 38399582; PMCID: PMC10890080.

Schlatterer K, Napp M, Gleich S, Monecke S, Arnold A, Kiefer-Trendelenburg T, Goering R, Strommenger B, Werner G, Daeschlein G. 2023. Community-associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (ca-MRSA) as a Pandemic Pathogen: Risk Factors and Implications for Healthcare. Aktuelle Dermatologie 49:68-75.

Scharn CR, Tickler IA, Tenover FC, Goering RV. Characterization of SCCmecÿInstability in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Affecting Adjacent Chromosomal Regions, Including the Gene for Staphylococcal Protein A (spa). Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2022 Apr 19;66(4):e0237421. doi: 10.1128/aac.02374-21. Epub 2022 Mar 7. PMID: 35254090; PMCID: PMC9017337.

Siedlik JA, Watson CJ, Raine MA, Cheng AV, Goering RV, Stessman HAF, Belshan M. Epidemiologic and Genomic Analysis of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Epidemic in the Nebraska Region of the United States, March 2020-2021. Front Microbiol. 2022 May 18;13:878342. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.878342. PMID: 35663859; PMCID: PMC9158493.

Deng S, He W, Gong AY, Li M, Wang Y, Xia Z, Zhang XT, Huang Pacheco AS, Naqib A, Jenkins M, Swanson PC, Drescher KM, Strauss-Soukup JK, Belshan M, Chen XM. Cryptosporidium uses CSpV1 to activate host type I interferon and attenuate antiparasitic defenses. Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 16;14(1):1456. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-37129-0. PMID: 36928642; PMCID: PMC10020566.

Worth AN, Palmer VL, Schabla NM, Perry GA, Fraser-Philbin AN, Swanson PC. Receptor editing constrains development of phosphatidyl choline-specific B cells in VH12-transgenic mice. Cell Rep. 2022 Jun 14;39(11):110899. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110899. PMID: 35705027; PMCID: PMC9716649.

Richards CL, Bontemps-Gallo S, Bourret TJ. Editorial: Host-pathogen interactions: the metabolic crossroads. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2023 May 16;13:1212051. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2023.1212051. PMID: 37260702; PMCID: PMC10227595.

Hamik J, Bourret TJ, Smith H, Herman M, Birn R, Dawdy T, Zuffante MJ, Donahue MA. Detection of Borrelia burgdorferi infected Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) associated with local Lyme disease transmission in Nebraska, USA, 2021. Zoonoses Public Health. 2023 Jun;70(4):361-364. doi: 10.1111/zph.13031. Epub 2023 Feb 13. PMID: 36785942.

Maclean AKW, Morrow S, Niu F, Hanson ND. What Contributes to the MIC? Beyond ?-Lactamase Gene Detection in Klebsiella pneumoniae. J Infect Dis. 2024 Apr 24:jiae204. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiae204. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38654105.