The Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology & Pharmacology at the John A Burns School of Medicine has trained many US and international students in tropical infectious disease research since the establishment of its graduate program in 1976. Key research areas of faculty participating in this training program include immunology, pathogenesis, and vaccine and drug development for Ebola, dengue, malaria, and HIV/AIDS, and basic, genomic and epidemiological research on emerging infectious diseases caused by hantaviruses, West Nile virus, Nipah virus, and Burkholderia pseudomallei.

The mission of the department is “to provide the future leaders of Tropical Medicine and Pharmacology a world-class transdisciplinary research, training and teaching program that focuses on basic, translational, and field research on microbial diseases of global public health importance and with special interests to Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region”. In keeping with this mission, its faculty members have long-standing international collaborative research projects in Egypt, Cameroon, Peru, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Philippines, South Korea, China, India, and US-Affiliated Territories in the Pacific.

The goal of the department to serve as a regional translational science center of research excellence for new, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases is promoted by the Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research, supported by the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH. The department is equipped with an insectary and a Biosafety Level 3 containment laboratory for in vitro research and animal studies, and has a BSL3 training program in place for students who study pathogens requiring this level of containment. Quantitative training and support for trainees is provided by faculty of the Biostatistics and Data Management Core.