Dr. Irving Coy Allen teaching
Irving Coy Allen, associate professor of inflammatory disease in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology

It is my belief that in order to maintain a strong research program in my laboratory, as well as at the university and national levels, it is essential to produce highly trained and educated students. Thus, I am dedicated to improving the educational experience and research training of the students at Virginia Tech. 

Throughout my career, I have sought opportunities to gain classroom experience through teaching in the graduate curriculum, presenting guest lectures in other departments, and leading several extracurricular courses at the veterinary college, such as the summer SVSRP program. In the graduate curriculum at the veterinary college, I was the lead instructor and course developer of a new graduate level course, '“Frontiers of Immunology in Health and Disease," that began in 2014. This course meets a unique niche at Virginia Tech and offers students a true graduate-level immunology experience. The class was highly interactive, utilized active learning approaches, and integrated current research into the curriculum.

In addition to didactic instruction, I also view mentoring students as an essential focus area. My laboratory is managed as a true academic laboratory, and all of the research projects are student-driven by both graduate and undergraduate students. The undergraduate students are treated equally as the graduate students and run their own research projects. For all students, I emphasize that they be well rounded in science, academics, and service. While the excitement of research discovery will always be a driving force in my career, I have found that mentoring students is also highly satisfying. I am dedicated to fostering their enthusiasm and feel a great since of pride as they succeed in accomplishing their research projects.


Biomedical science is rapidly evolving and is truly a multi-disciplinary field that forms the foundation of today’s health and medical research enterprise. Thus, an advanced and rigorous course is needed to introduce graduate students to common methodologies and techniques used to conduct rigorous, hypothesis driven research. The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students with essential background knowledge associated with the strengths and limitations of common biomedical methodologies and techniques that they are likely to utilize or encounter in their pathway to independence. It is our expectation that students will improve their ability to critically evaluate data based on a stronger understanding of the underlying principles associated with each methodology and technique. This course is designed to advance the knowledge gained from undergraduate courses and independent research experiences. Furthermore, this course will supplement the laboratory research experience for graduate students in any scientific discipline associated with veterinary, health, or medical research. Many courses at Virginia Tech include supplemental experience and education related to common methodology and techniques; however, typically these exposures are in the form of journal clubs or informal supplement discussions built around specific pieces of data or datasets published in a manuscript. This course is a significant departure from this model as it will provide highly organized, didactic instruction specifically focused on each methodology and technique.
(1H, 1C)

Immunology is rapidly evolving from a stand-alone discipline into a multi-disciplinary science that forms the foundation of human and animal disease paradigms. Thus, an advanced and rigorous course is needed to meet the current demand and provide a proper background to prepare graduate students to integrate emerging knowledge in immunology into basic research, biomedical science, and veterinary practice. This advanced course will provide an analysis of emerging, cutting edge and paradigm changing concepts in the field of cellular and molecular immunology in human and animal health and disease. Graduate students that have previously completed a fundamental course in immunology will gain a detailed and applied understanding of innate immunity, adaptive immunity, developmental immunology, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency, cancer immunology and transplantation immunology.
(3H, 3C)

Comprehensive survey of human immunity, infectious agents and disease across scales: genetic, molecular, cellular, tissue, organism, society. Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious and immune diseases. Social and economic aspects of infection disease and immunity.
(4H, 4C)