Published on New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center (

Keith M. Derbyshire, Ph.D.

Keith M. Derbyshire
Associate Director for Research and Technology
Director, Division of Genetics
Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences
Molecular Genetics of Mycobacteria
Ph.D., Edinburgh University (1983)
Postdoctoral training: Yale University
Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science (2018)
Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2019)

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a leading cause of death by an infectious agent. It is estimated that one-third of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis and that 1.6 million people die of tuberculosis every year. Its deadly synergistic association with HIV, and the appearance of MDR and XDR strains, exacerbate the global health problems associated with the disease. A comprehensive understanding of the biology of this organism is critical for the identification of novel drug targets, for the development of vaccines, and for determining how it evades the host immune system. This requires the development of basic molecular techniques to determine the genetic and biochemical basis of pathogenesis and drug resistance. To this end, the laboratory utilizes both basic molecular genetic techniques and state-of-the-art genome-wide approaches to determine the genetic architecture, expression and functions of mycobacterial genes.

The current research projects in the laboratory are:

  1. Distributive conjugal transfer (DCT) and genetic exchange in mycobacteria
  2. ESX secretion systems and their role in DCT and cell-cell communication
  3. Genome architecture of mycobacteria and the mechanism of leaderless gene expression
  4. Characterization of the mycobacterial small proteome

To learn more, please visit the Derbyshire and Gray Laboratory[1].

Phone Number
(518) 473-6079
Fax Number
(518) 486-7971
Research Photo(s)
    M. smegmatis ESX-1 proteins fused to the yellow fluorescent protein are seen as distinct foci localized to the cell pole.
    The Esx-1 secretion apparatus is localized to the cell poles of M. smegmatis. When Esx-1 structural proteins from either M. tuberculosis or M. smegmatis are fused to the yellow fluorescent protein, and cells visualized by fluorescence microscopy, the proteins are localized to a cell pole. Thus, the Esx-1 structural apparatus has a unique cellular location.