The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health invites applications and nominations for the position of chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology.

The opportunity

Founded in 1935, the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) has a longstanding tradition of excellence at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Its mission is to provide comprehensive scientific instruction to students, conduct novel and meaningful research, and offer consultation and service in microbiology and immunology as they relate to human health and disease. The department’s interests in infectious disease, host immune response, and microbial contributions to human health are illustrated in its research areas of bacterial pathogenesis, fungal pathogenesis, immunology, parasitology, symbiosis, and virology.

A key feature of the department is its institutional setting within a top-tier research institution with a large number of faculty in the biological sciences and the nation’s first School of Medicine and Public Health. The department is housed in the Microbial Sciences Building (MSB) on central campus, which also houses the Department of Bacteriology, part of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the Food Research Institute — allowing for abundant opportunities for collaboration.

The department’s faculty include an exciting blend of established leaders, productive mid-level faculty, and an impressive group of young investigators poised to lead the department and field well into the future. The majority of department faculty are located in MSB, which provides state-of-the-art facilities for microbiology and immunology research with core instrumentation, as well as proximity to faculty and core facilities elsewhere on the UW–Madison campus.

MMI has always highly valued teaching as an integral part of scholarship. Department faculty make substantial commitments to teaching, offering courses to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students. Graduate studies in microbiology at UW–Madison are currently ranked number one in the nation (U.S. News and World Report), and the department co-sponsors the acclaimed Microbiology Doctoral Training Program.

The chair will be an innovative leader in the study of infectious disease and immunity and will champion outstanding qualities of strategic management and leadership with a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The successful candidate will maintain the department’s premier status by pushing forward its mission to provide innovative scientific training, pursue cutting-edge research, and contribute expertise in service of bettering human health.

Organization overview


“The University of Wisconsin–Madison is distinctive in its scale and breadth, the premium we place on our relevance to society, and our commitment to inclusivity in the broadest sense.” — Rebecca M. Blank, Chancellor

Bascom Hall in Madison
Bascom Hall sits at the heart of campus at UW–Madison.

Since 1848, this campus has been a catalyst for the extraordinary. As a public land-grant university and one of the most prolific research institutions in the world, UW–Madison is home to those who are driven by a desire to both explore new worlds and to apply new ideas to real-world problems.

With a total annual budget of over $3.1 billion, including more than $1 billion in annual research expenditures, UW–Madison has been in the top 10 in national research spending every year since 1972. The campus is home to more than 22,000 faculty and staff and 42,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree students. Members of the student body represent all 50 states and 127 countries. The university is ranked 26th worldwide by the Center for World University Rankings and 13th among public U.S. universities in the 2021 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings.

The Wisconsin Idea—the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom— has been guiding the efforts of UW–Madison Badgers for more than a century. The university has been dedicated to studying poverty and social inequity for 50 years, is ranked #1 among large schools for producing Peace Corps volunteers, and boasts 19 Nobel Prize winners among its faculty and alumni.

School of Medicine and Public Health

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) is recognized as an international, national, and statewide leader in education, research, and service. Founded in 1907, it transformed into the nation’s first School of Medicine and Public Health in 2005 to integrate the principles and power of interwoven medical and public health approaches in all of its missions.

Powered by more than 4,500 employees, including over 1,800 faculty, the school’s engagement spans the entire state of Wisconsin and includes a deep commitment to improvement of the health of the population. This commitment manifests itself in innovative models that serve as paradigms for the rest of the country.

Members of the school rapidly translate discovery into application and continually foster synergies between clinical care, education, and research. Consistently ranked among the nation’s top medical schools, SMPH has established high-performance academic programs that are intentionally distributed across the entire spectrum of academic medicine. Its faculty members hold appointments in 27 departments—17 in the clinical sciences and 10 in the basic sciences. The faculty is composed of some of the nation’s leading researchers, educators, and clinicians. This includes several National Medal of Science recipients and National Academy of Science honorees.

Mission and values

UW SMPH strives to carry out its mission of advancing health and health equity through remarkable service to patients and communities, outstanding education, and innovative research. It upholds the values of integrity and accountability, compassion, diversity, equity and inclusivity, and excellence.

Fostering a diverse and inclusive community is important both as an end in itself and also as a valuable driver of eliminating health disparities. The school is comprised of a diverse, inclusive academic community committed to excellence and equity in health; wellness through teaching and learning, clinical service, and advocacy; and research in all forms of biological science, population health science, and health care.

SMPH is dedicated to creating an inclusive, collaborative, respectful, and welcoming environment in which all faculty, students, and staff will thrive. This effort is referred to as Building Community, and includes a call to action for every SMPH member to examine not only our intent, but our impact—“Every Person. Every Action. Every Time.”

UW Health

UW Health is the integrated health system of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, serving more than 600,000 patients each year in the Upper Midwest and beyond with 1,750 physicians and 21,000 staff at seven hospitals and more than 80 outpatient sites. UW Health is governed by the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority and partners with UW School of Medicine and Public Health to fulfill patient care, research, education and community service missions. UW Health Hospitals, which includes both University Hospital on the UW–Madison campus and UW Health at The American Center on the east side of Madison, has been ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin for nine years in a row by U.S. News and World Report. University Hospital is one of only 25 U.S. hospitals named to Newsweek’s “Top 100 Global” list, which includes hospitals in 11 countries around the world. American Family Children’s Hospital is also nationally ranked as a top children’s hospital. UW Health has been designated by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index.

Department Medical Microbiology and Immunology

The Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) faculty and staff are recognized leaders in the basic sciences associated with infectious diseases, host-microbe interactions, and host responses to infectious diseases, as well as other sub-disciplines in immunology. Faculty members study the molecular mechanisms by which bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites are transmitted, colonize their hosts, and cause disease. The department’s researchers also investigate how innate, as well as acquired immune host functions, relate to protection against microbes and disease processes. Lastly, some study the fundamental and important interactions between a host and their associated microbiota.

Microbial Sciences Building
The Microbial Sciences Building.

There are 21 faculty in the department, 11 men and 10 women; all are tenured or tenure track (11 full professors, 7 associate professors, and 3 assistant professors). Eleven of the faculty have joint appointments: five in Medicine, three in Pediatrics, one in Bacteriology, one in Biomolecular Chemistry, and one in Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, that facilitate valuable collaboration. Along with other state-of-the-art resources, the Microbial Sciences Building (MSB), where the department is housed, has a vivarium that principally houses rodents and also includes BSL3 suites.

MMI faculty are among the most distinguished in their field. Their accomplishments include:

  • Regularly publishing in leading journals, including Science, Nature-Microbiology, Cell-Host Microbe, PLoS Pathogens, Elife, Immunology, and PNAS
  • Recipients of prestigious awards and named fellowships from institutions like the American Society of Cell Biology (Lifetime Achievement), National Academy of Medicine, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (Charles Thom Award), NIH MIRA grants, and American Academy for Microbiology
  • A legacy of cutting-edge research in the areas of bacterial pathogenesis, fungal pathogenesis, immunology, parasitology, symbiosis, and virology
  • Funding mechanisms including NIH R01, R35, U01, U19, NSF, NASA, and Department of Defense awards
  • Editorial members of prominent peer-reviewed journals in relevant fields
  • Highly collaborative faculty, both within the department and throughout the broader infectious disease and immunology community on campus

The department provides an exceptional learning environment for undergraduates through rigorous coursework and research opportunities. Graduate students may earn a Ph.D. through the nationally acclaimed and highly ranked Microbiology Doctoral Training Program, which the department co-sponsors. The success of these instructional efforts is evident from the excellent student evaluations and ratings, numerous teaching awards garnered by faculty, and the doctoral training program’s ranking of first among U.S. public institutions and third nationwide (U.S. News and World Report).

Every faculty member is expected to teach regularly and effectively, and to share teaching duties equitably. Rather than competing with other existing graduate programs, the department has found great success by enhancing existing interdepartmental graduate training programs. Faculty recruit students from a diverse array of interdepartmental programs, including the Microbiology Doctoral Training Program, the Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Program, Cancer Biology, Plant Pathology, and Comparative Biomedical Sciences.

Faculty foster the success of their mentees by increasing the quality and number of students and post-doctoral trainees in the department, providing career development advice and support to PhD students and post-doctoral trainees, and placing PhD graduates in post-doctoral positions that facilitate entry into appropriate career tracks.

MMI is financially strong based on a combination of funding from the School of Medicine and Public Health and extramural grants awarded to faculty and staff. During the 2020 fiscal year, the department received $7.5 million in grant awards. Federal grants made up approximately $6.5 million of the department’s $10.4 million fiscal year 2020 expenses.

Qualifications and attributes of leadership

The successful candidate will have a compelling vision for the future of medical microbiology and immunology in a leading research-intensive public academic institution and medical center. The Chair will possess proven leadership and management skills as well as an outstanding academic background and dedication to furthering diversity of the faculty, staff, and students in the department and establishing an inclusive work environment. The Chair will provide strategic, academic, and administrative leadership of the highest quality to this distinguished department in its research, teaching, and service missions.

Applicants must have substantial academic accomplishments that merit a tenured appointment at the rank of Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A PhD or equivalent degree(s) are required.

The community

Located on an isthmus between two lakes, Madison is the capital city of the state of Wisconsin. Madison has been voted:

  • #3 Best Place to Live (Liveability, 2019)
  • among the Best Small Cities in America (National Geographic, 2018)
  • #1 City for Most Successful Women Per Capita (Forbes, 2019)
  • #1 City for Best Work-Life Balance (SmartAsset, 2020)
  • #8 Best Area for STEM Professionals (Wallethub, 2020)
  • #2 Best State to Practice Medicine (WalletHub, 2019)
  • #6 Best City for Biking (People for Bikes, 2018)
  • #2 Most Walkable City (Expedia, 2018)
  • #4 Fittest City in the U.S. (ACSM American Fitness Index, 2020)
  • #5 Best City for Young Professionals (Forbes, 2016)
  • #1 Best Place in the U.S. for Raising Children ( 2020)
  • #1 Best College Football Town in America (Sports Illustrated, 2019)

Madison’s technology economy is growing rapidly, and the region is home to the headquarters of Epic Systems, Exact Sciences, American Family Insurance, American Girl, Sub-Zero, and Lands’ End, as well as many biotech, healthcare IT, and health systems startups.

A goose on a lake
Campus is nestled along the shores of Lake Mendota.

Madison is the second largest city in the state, with a city population of approximately 260,000 and regional population of over 1 million. The city is within easy driving range of Chicago and Milwaukee. Madison offers numerous unique neighborhoods and commercial areas including the Capitol Square, State Street, Willy Street, Shorewood Hills, Maple Bluff, and Hilldale. Suburbs and surrounding smaller communities include Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Verona, Cottage Grove, Waunakee, and Fitchburg.

Madison is home to one of the strongest local food scenes in the country with several James Beard Award winners, gastropubs, and farm-to-table restaurants. From April to October, the Capitol Square hosts the impressive Dane County Farmers’ Market, the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. The city is rich with cultural offerings such as the Overture Center for the Performing Arts, Orpheum Theatre, Concerts on the Square, Jazz at Five, UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music Hamel Music Center, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera, Madison Ballet, UW–Madison Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin Historical Museum, and Madison Children’s Museum, among others.

The city has a dedicated athletics fanbase which largely centers around the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sports venues include Camp Randall Stadium, the Kohl Center, LaBahn Arena, Wisconsin Field House, and the Aliant Energy Center. Madison is home to Forward Madison FC, the first professional soccer team in the city, as well as the Madison Mallards, a college wood-bat summer baseball league team. Marquee endurance sports and specialty sporting events include IronMan Wisconsin and IronMan 70.3, Reebok CrossFit Games, Madison Marathon, and many national and international championship competitions.

Application process


Please send nominations to:

David Andes, MD, and Deneen Wellik, PhD
Co-chairs of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology Chair Search Committee
c/o Benjamin Schultz-Burkel, DMA
4299C HSLC, 750 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI, 53705-2111


To apply, please visit the UW-Madison jobs website, using the "apply now" button below. Applicants will be asked to upload a CV and personal statement/cover letter.


The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has a deep and profound commitment to diversity both as an end in itself but also as a valuable means for eliminating health disparities. As such, we strongly encourage applications from candidates who foster and promote the values of diversity and inclusion.

Applications from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals, women, and LGBTQ+ and non- binary identities are strongly encouraged.


To receive full consideration, please apply by Dec. 6, 2020.


Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, information regarding applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality. The University of Wisconsin is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.

Apply now