Marina Durward Diioia, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Midwestern University
Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine | College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
203H Agave Hall
19555 N. 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (623) 576-3687



Ph.D. Cellular and Molecular Pathology School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison
B.S. Biology California State University San Marcos


My lab is interested in host and pathogen contributions to the development and frequent failure of immunological memory to intracellular bacterial infections in vivo, and how these aspects of pathogenesis may lead us to safe and effective vaccines.


Project I:

We are researching the differences in acute and chronic disease response by host CD8+ T cells (aka killer T cells or cytotoxic T cells).  These cells typically kill infected cells as part of the adaptive immune response but in some chronic and reactivating diseases they fail to protect the host from infection. Using epi-fluorescent and confocal microscopy I would like to identify anatomical and functional differences during acute and chronic brucellosis. Ultimately, the goal is to identify the defect in responding CD8+ T cells that allows Brucella spp. to persist long-term

Project II:

In collaboration with a small biotech company, we have begun validating a novel vaccine design that is built around bioinformatics and epitope prediction.  Epitopes are small (8-9 AAs) chunks of pathogens that can induce an adaptive immune response. The goal of this long-term project is to validate the bioinformatics prediction capacity of the algorithms by testing the efficacy of various vaccine and adjuvant combinations. 

Project III:

Antibiotic resistance of zoonotic pathogens has become of grave concern in both veterinary and human clinical medicine. Arizona has great environmental diversity that may hold compounds that can inhibit bacterial growth without driving pathogenic resistance. We are interested in discerning how natural products and compounds can inhibit antibiotic resistant bacterial growth. Further, antibiotic resistance can be completely circumvented by successful vaccination. We would like to identify bacterial products that are essential for pathogen survival (less likely to mutate) when designing next-generation vaccines that deliver strong immunological memory.