Skip to Main Content

Immunobiology Graduate Program

The Yale Immunobiology Graduate Program is recognized as one of the top Immunobiology training programs in the country. This is reflected by the outstanding quality of our applicants and the trainees who decide to attend Yale. We are proud that a recent report from the National Research Council ranked our program as the number one Immunology graduate program in the United States. Our goal is achieved by preparing graduate students for independent careers in research and teaching in Immunology and related disciplines. Graduate education in Immunobiology emphasizes interdisciplinary training and collaborative and interactive research, an approach based on the idea that solving difficult problems requires the integration of individuals with common goals but differing expertise.

The research in Yale Immunobiology focuses on the molecular, cellular and genetic underpinnings of immune system function and development, on host-pathogen interactions, and on the development of new treatments for human disease, particularly those related to immune dysfunction;(see Section of Human and Translational Immunology). For specific areas of interest see the listing of Faculty Research Interests.

The Department of Immunobiology at Yale provides one of the largest integrated training programs in immunology in the country, led by a faculty with a reputation for leadership and excellence in research. Thirteen of the 26 faculty in the Department of Immunobiology are housed in the Anlyan Center (TAC), a $176 million building dedicated as a biomedical research facility. The building, located at the corner of Congress Avenue and Cedar Street, provides six floors of laboratories for disease-oriented research as well as core research resources and teaching facilities, including an animal resources center and a magnetic resonance center.

Six Immunobiology faculty have their laboratories in the 300 George St. building: Herold (co-Director of HTI), Hafler (Chair of Neurology), Lucas, Chen, Bender, and Meffre. The HTI (Human Translational Immunology) Program represents a vital component of the Yale Immunobiology Graduate Program and is rapidly growing. Dr. Pober (Director of VBT and co-director of HTI), has his laboratory in the Amistad building. With all of these laboratories located in close proximity in these three buildings, we offer a unique concentration of superb laboratories and investigators dedicated to the study of the immune system. We believe this represents an outstanding training environment.


Students enter the program through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Program of Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Once admitted, one of the seven BBS Tracks will be your home department. During the first year, the Track you entered will oversee your educational plan. During this year, students take courses, do three research rotations, and become familiar with the wide variety of research opportunities available in the biological sciences at Yale. By the end of the first year, you will select a laboratory to enter for your thesis research. This will be based on your experience with one of your rotations which will allow you plenty of opportunity to make a thoughtful and informed decision.

Immunobiology laboratories are fully equipped with all of the standard, modern equipment needed for research in molecular biology and immunology. The Department of Immunobiology maintains a wide variety of major equipment including fluorescence microscopes, scintillation counters, film developer, phosphoimagers, fluorimager, BIAcore apparatus, multiple flow cytometers/cell sorters, cesium irradiator, and an upright laser scanning microscope with a two-photon laser used for real time imaging of cells within lymphoid tissues. Dr. Richard Flavell, past chair of the department, oversees a very active transgenic mouse/ES cell/knockout facility including CRISPR/Cas9 technology, to which members of the department have easy access. Also easily available are core facilities in electron microscopy, histology, pathology, mass spectroscopy and monoclonal antibody production. HHMI operates an efficient, low cost oligonucleotide and peptide synthesis facility, which also performs DNA and protein sequencing. A wide variety of additional facilities are provided by Yale University including modern computer technology, access to the internet and excellent libraries.

Please find here information pertaining to our Immunobiology PhD students' degree and career data

Immunobiology Graduate Program

Important Links

Contact Information

Graduate School:
graduate.admissions@yale.edu

BBS Admissions:
bbs@yale.edu

Immunology Student Services Officer:
Caroline Lieber
(203) 785-3857

The First Year


The first year is spent taking courses (two to three each semester) and performing three laboratory rotations. Students are encouraged to supplement the core courses in molecular and cellular immunology with additional courses selected from the wide range available in cell and developmental biology, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular medicine. In conjunction with other BBS Tracks, the Immunology Track maintains an active and well attended weekly seminar series for which students participate. Informal interactions with other graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty also form an important part of graduate education. By the end of the first year, the student chooses a Ph.D. thesis supervisor and begins thesis research. In most cases, this choice also determines from which department the student will receive the Ph.D. degree. For example, many students entering the Immunology Track will perform thesis research with a faculty member in the Department of Immunobiology and hence receive their Ph.D. degree from this department. However, students are free to work with any faculty member in any department.


Year 1

Year 1: Coursework

Below is a description of the typical first year program for a student in the Immunobiology Track of BBS. Asterisks(*) mark courses that are required by the Immunobiology Graduate Program.

Course Work

The DGS, your faculty mentor, student liaison and student services officer are on hand to help you with your course decisions. Students are required to take at least four or five science courses for a grade in the first year. The typical load is 2-3 courses per semester.

First Semester

IBIO 530: Biology of the Immune System *REQUIRED

Required unless consultation with DGS and course director determines that passing the previous year final exam shows sufficient knowledge in subject. This d oes not reduce the six course requirement.

IBIO 600: Introduction to Research, Faculty Research Presentations *REQUIRED, Pass/Fail At least one elective graduate course

IBIO 611, Laboratory Research training (not for a grade—Pass/Fail) *REQUIRED,

IBIO 612: Laboratory Research Training (not for a grade—Pass/Fail)*REQUIRED

NB: First year graduate students may not take the Immunobiology Seminar Course during their first semester. IBIO530 is a pre-requisite for the seminar courses. Rare exceptions may be given based on students past coursework in immunology.


Second semester

IBIO 531b: Advanced Immunology *REQUIRED

IBIO 601b: Fundamentals of Research (responsible conduct in of research) *REQUIRED (Pass/Fail)

IBIO 613b: Laboratory Research Training *REQUIRED (not for a grade—Pass/Fail);

At least one elective graduate course.


Laboratory Rotations (611a, 612a, 613b) and Rotation Evaluation Forms

Three rotations are required for all first year immunology graduate students. A rotation done during the summer prior to matriculation does not count as one of the three rotations required during the first year.


How do you learn about Immunology Research at Yale?

There are several ways for you to find out about the research going on at Yale

  • meet the faculty in 600a, take notes, and then contact them individually for further discussion
  • read about the faculty interests on the websites and in their published papers
  • contact the faculty directly

Meet the faculty – IBIO 600a: The Immunobiology Department coordinates “Research Talks presented by two-three faculty per week for several weeks. After each session, if interested, contact the faculty through their admin assistants for a separate short meeting to discuss their research and possible rotation opportunity projects.

Read about the faculty interests: The BBS provides a rotation manual compiling opportunities in many labs within the 7 tracks. You can also visit the BBS website and peruse the Immunology track faculty research interests. Additionally, there are other faculty at Yale not necessarily in the Immunology Track, who have interests in Immunology, with who you may want to rotate. If they do not present their research in our series of short talks, please feel free to contact them to see if they are accepting rotation students.

Contact the faculty: If you are interested in rotating in a non-Immunology track faculty lab, then you will need to contact that faculty member. This is routine and you should not hesitate to do so.

All BBS faculty who have open rotation opportunities are open to all incoming BBS students.

How do I select a lab to rotate in?

After attending the faculty research presentations and meeting individually with faculty, you should feel confident to send a note to your faculty of choice. Dr. Rothlin and other faculty are available to discuss your choices and provide guidance on how to proceed. Consulting with more senior students in the program can be very helpful as well. Let Caroline and Carla know whose lab you are going to rotate in.

Choosing a Thesis Laboratory

Near the end of the third rotation, students will determine which lab they would like to do thesis research in and presumably have made arrangements with their mentor of choice. Once that is determined, let Caroline and Carla know.

A fourth rotation is allowed, with approval from the DGS.

Choosing a Graduate Program

This is a very important choice because it determines what requirements (courses, exams, etc.) you will have to fulfill for the remainder of your graduate career. The decision should be made by June 15, after consulting with the DGSs. See the discussion on the Transition between BBS Tracks and Departmental Graduate Programs.

Within BBS, there are approximately 350 participating faculty in numerous basic science and clinical Departments located on Yale’s North, South and West campuses. Graduate training begins within interest-based Tracks, each of which provides robust academic and advisory structures designed to prepare students for cutting-edge research. Recently, the BBS launched two new Tracks that epitomize our strong collaborative environment for graduate student training:

  1. Biochemistry, Quantitative Biology, Biophysics, and Structural Biology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/biochemistry/
  2. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics http://bbs.yale.edu/computational/
  3. Immunology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/immunology/
  4. Microbiology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/microbiology/
  5. Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics, and Development https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/molecularcell/
  6. Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and Physiology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/molmed/
  7. Neuroscience https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/neuroscience/
  8. Plant Molecular Biology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/plantmolbio/