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Keith M. Derbyshire, Ph.D.

Keith M. Derbyshire, Ph.D.

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)
(518) 473-6079
(518) 486-7971

Research Interests

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.

Select Publications

Canestrari JG, Lasek-Nesselquist E, Upadhyay A, Rofaeil M, Champion MM, Wade JT, Derbyshire KM, Gray TA.
Polycysteine-encoding leaderless short ORFs function as cysteine-responsive attenuators of operonic gene expression in mycobacteria.
Mol Microbio.
DOI: 10.1111/mmi.14498
Smith C, Canestrari JG, Wang J, Derbyshire KM, Gray TA, Wade JT.
Pervasive Translation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Gray TA, Derbyshire KM.
Blending genomes: distributive conjugal transfer in mycobacteria, a sexier form of HGT.
Mol Microbiol.
Clark RR, Judd J, Lasek-Nesselquist E, Montgomery SA, Hoffmann JG, Derbyshire KM3, Gray TA.
Direct cell-cell contact activates SigM to express the ESX-4 secretion system in Mycobacterium smegmatis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
Gray TA, Clark RR, Boucher N, Lapierre P, Smith C, Derbyshire KM.
Intercellular communication and conjugation are mediated by ESX secretion systems in mycobacteria.
Shell SS, Wang J, Lapierre P, Mir M, Chase MR, Pyle M, Gawande R, Ahmad R, Sarracino D, Ioerger TR, Fortune SM, Derbyshire KM, Wade JT, Gray TA.
Leaderless transcripts and small proteins are common features of the mycobacterial translational landscape.
PLOS Genetics.
Gray TA, Krywy JA, Harold J, Palumbo MJ, Derbyshire KM.
Distributive Conjugal Transfer in Mycobacteria Generates Progeny with Meiotic-Like Genome-Wide Mosaicism, Allowing Mapping of a Mating Identity Locus.
Plos Biology.