Keith Garrison

Faculty Member

Personal profile


I joined the faculty of Saint Mary's College from a post-doctoral position at UCSF doing research in HIV immunology. My research in this area consisted of a fusion of genetics and immunology working to identify new potential vaccine targets against HIV. I am especially interested in the activity of endogenous retroviruses and other types of mobile genetic elements within the cell upon HIV infection. For my sabbatical in 2015 as a Fulbright scholar, I continued collaborative work (begun when I was a graduate student) with a French research group in the Alsace focusing on mobile genetic elements in plants. We are interested in using retroelement mobility as a potentially useful genetic marker for discriminating important subtypes within varieties of wine grapes and understanding the evolution of pathogen defenses in this historically important crop plant. Most recently, my work has focused on studying the immune responses of reef-building corals. Increasing ocean temperatures and acidification threaten the health of reef ecosystems. We do not fully understand coral's immune response to pathogens, especially those that may be exacerbated by environmental stress. My lab is interested in constructing a set of assays to measure the immune health of corals. We also hope to use these assays to help us understand the role that immunity may play in bleaching events or recovery from bleaching and re-establishment of symbiosis.

Contact Information

Office: Brousseau Hall - 204
Phone: 925-631-4174

Related documents

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., Genetics, University of California, Davis

… → 2004

B.A. Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California - Berkeley

… → 1995

External positions

Post-doctoral fellow; HIV Immunology and Virology, University of California, San Francisco

Jan 1 2005Jan 1 2008

Technical Support and Training Scientist, Hitachi Genetic Systems

Jan 1 1997Jan 1 1999

Researcher and Criminalist, California Department of Justice DNA Laboratory

Jan 1 1994Jan 1 1997

Lecturer, Introductory Biology, University of San Francisco

… → Jan 1 2008


  • Biochemistry
  • Biology