Genetic factors strongly determine the outcome of infectious diseases caused by various pathogens. The molecular mechanisms of resistance and susceptibility in humans, however, remains largely unknown. Complex interactions of multiple genes that control the host response to a pathogen further complicate the picture. Animal models have a tremendous potential to dissect the complex genetic system of host-pathogen interaction into single components. This is particularly true for the mouse, which will continue to develop into an invaluable tool in the identification and cloning of host resistance genes. Three main approaches have been taken to establish mouse models for human infectious diseases: 1) Production of mouse mutants by gene targeting; 2) positional cloning of host-resistance genes in mutant mice; and 3) mapping and characterization of quantitative trait loci (QTL) controlling the complex aspects of host-pathogen interactions. The contribution of all three methods to the understanding of infectious diseases in humans will be reviewed in this work, with a special emphasis on the studies of resistance/susceptibility mechanism in bacterial infections.