Infectious diseases

Here you can:

Discover new
ways to
detect COVID-19.

Harness your passion for improving public health.
At DEOHS, you can:

testing wastewater
Investigate new methods for detecting COVID-19 to pinpoint disease outbreaks (the PhD dissertation of Sarah Philo, pictured above).

test swab
Test new, safer methods to diagnose tuberculosis and contribute to ending the global TB epidemic.

Why study Infectious Diseases?

Infectious disease scientists combine skills in clinical microbiology, immunology, parasitology and virology to study how diseases such as tuberculosis, diarrheal diseases, polio, COVID-19 and other communicable diseases develop and spread, how the environment influences their transmission and new solutions to prevent, detect and control disease transmission.

As a student in Infectious Diseases, you will:

  • Choose to earn your MS, MS Applied or PhD degree.
  • Take common core courses introducing foundational concepts and skills, including: risk assessment, management and communication; assessment and management of exposures to environmental hazards; core principles of toxicology; and how to use a One Health approach to address complex challenges.
  • Learn how infectious microorganisms are transmitted to humans through air, food and water and how climate change is impacting that transmission, and gain skills in detecting and controlling microbial hazards.
  • Complete a culminating experience (thesis, project or dissertation) showcasing your ability to integrate the skills you have learned to address an environmental or occupational health problem.

I chose this department because of the high caliber and range of research that the faculty is doing. Since coming to UW, I’ve gained extensive and valuable laboratory experience with different methods and microbes.

Allison Kline,
MS, Environmental Health
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Infectious Diseases: Student research projects

Our faculty and research


For students interested in interdisciplinary research and scholarship, you have to kind of carve your own way, taking things from a lot of different disciplines and fields.

Dr. Karen Levy,
DEOHS Professor
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Research spotlight

A man in a face mask and protective gear holds a tube and cotton swab near the driver's side window of a car.

New study clears path for self-sampling for COVID-19

Patients can collect their own samples just as accurately as clinicians to protect health care workers and preserve PPE, according to new study from UW and UnitedHealth Group

DEOHS research scientist Rachel Wood holds a cotton swab for TB testing.

TB screening made easy

Oral swab testing for tuberculosis takes off with a $1.2 million grant to DEOHS researchers

Children in Nigeria playing in water in a drainage area contaminated by wastewater.

Catching waterborne disease before it spreads

DEOHS-designed bag filtration method tracks pathogens to prevent diseases like polio, and perhaps someday COVID-19


Career pathways

Our Infectious Diseases graduates work in the public, private and nonprofit sectors and in academia at the local, national and international levels. Recent DEOHS graduates work as:

  • An Epidemiologist with Washington State Department of Health.
  • A Public Affairs Specialist at the US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • An Environmental Health Associate at Ramboll Environ, a global consulting firm.

Alumni profile

It was a personal thing to me, to do something in my country and to do something useful.

Kholood Altassan,
Assistant Professor at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
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