Principal Investigator

William R. Bishai MD, PhD

Appointments: Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Center for Tuberculosis Research at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases with Joint Appointments in Pathology, International Health, and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology


About: Dr. Bishai received his MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School in 1989. He did his internship and residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and received fellowship training in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He was a Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the laboratory of Nobel laureate, Dr. Hamilton Smith. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1994 and is currently a Professor of Medicine in the Dept. of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and serves as Co-Director for the JHU Center for Tuberculosis Research. From 2010-2013 Dr. Bishai served as the founding Director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)-funded KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) in Durban, South Africa, where he supervised the construction of a $40 M research building and recruited seven world-class scientists to its faculty.

Dr. Bishai’s interests involve tuberculosis pathogenesis, and animal models of pulmonary infections, and bacterial respiratory tract infections. His work in South Africa led to new projects on the genomics of the M/XDR-TB strains, small molecule biomarkers in human tissue and T cell immunology of TB in the peripheral blood and lung compartments of humans. He has authored over 250 papers in peer reviewed journals, and receives grant support from the National Institutes of Health. He has given extensive service on international conference planning committees, study sections, editorial boards, and review panels including 3 years on the WHO Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board.


John (Jack) R. Murphy, PhD

Appointments: Professor, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Senior Scientists

Shichun Lun, PhD


About: Tuberculosis is still a major threat to the public health globally. New TB drugs with new targets and mechanisms of action or new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. My research experience and interests focus on the following four aspects:

[1] TB drug discovery and development: By high-throughput screening, hit compounds will be identified, followed by lead compound optimization and characterization, target identification and toxicity evaluation; this way, sensitizers can also be identified which may enhance an existing drug or molecular pathway in a synthetic lethality manner.

[2] Drug resistance mechanism studies: It is unfortunate that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can develop resistance not only to the first line TB drugs, but also to some of the new TB drugs or drug candidates. This underlines the importance of resistance mechanism study. It’s my interests to study the genetic basis for resistance and molecular biology for drug-target interactions and metabolic pathways.

[3] Pharmacokinetic study and animal modeling: In vivo bioavailability and pharmacokinetic study of new compounds and drug candidates is the first step for the pre-clinical study of TB drug development. In vivo efficacy evaluation using a mouse infection and chemotherapy modeling provides reliable and cost-effective tools for this purpose. This way, combination therapy can also be evaluated for either therapeutic duration shortening or efficacy evaluation towards drug-resistant tuberculosis.

[4] Host Directed Therapy for TB: It has been well documented that host immune modulations can have a significant effect on TB disease progression or chemotherapeutic outcome. This is also one of my research interests. While Janus Kinase inhibitor Tofacitinib can pose a high risk of reactivation of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), other immune modulators may have beneficial effects on the host when used in combination with chemotherapy.

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Michael E. Urbanowski, PhD


About: Mike grew up in Massachusetts and received a BS in Public Health and a BS in Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. Following his undergraduate training, he pursued a Master’s degree in Plant Biology, with a focus on Plant Physiology, before moving to Baltimore for his PhD training in the Bishai Lab from 2012 through 2018. Following the completion of his dissertation, Mike continued on as a post-doctoral researcher. Mike’s researcher interests focus on the pathology of tuberculosis, the pathogenesis of tuberculosis cavities, animal models of tuberculosis cavities, and the biochemical drivers of cavitation in tuberculosis.

Pankaj Prasad, PhD


About: Pankaj did his B.Sc. in Genetics from Bangalore University and pursued an M.Sc. in Molecular and Human Genetics from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. He joined Dr. Tapasya Srivastav’s lab within the Department of Genetics, University of Delhi and received his Ph.D. in Genetics in 2017. During Ph.D. he studied how TET proteins mediate active DNA demethylation in brain tumor cells in the hypoxic microenvironment. Before joining The Bishai Lab, he worked as a project scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, where he worked on the transcriptional regulation of the Spink1 gene in prostate cancer. He joined The Lab of Dr. Bishai in February 2018 and currently working on molecular mechanisms of TB granuloma formation using single-cell RNA sequencing technology.

Sadiya Parveen, PhD.


About: Sadiya earned her master’s degree from Avadh University, Faizabad and her Ph.D. from CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India. Her thesis work in of Dr. Manjula Reddy’s laboratory uncovered the existence of a crucial yet previously unexplored and conserved mechanism of peptidoglycan editing or proofreading. Additionally, she contributed to the identification of a novel proteolytic system which regulates bacterial morphogenesis in a cell-cycle dependent manner. In the Bishai Lab, she is working towards the design and development of diphtheria fusion protein toxins-based host-directed therapies for tuberculosis and cancers (such as melanoma and breast cancers).

Cynthia Korin Bullen, PhD.


Pankaj Kumar, PhD


About: Dr. Pankaj Kumar got his PhD training from a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research laboratory (CSIR), Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. His PhD research was on structure-function studies of Riboflavin biosynthesis pathway from Salmonella typimurium, an important drug target. He was awarded the Best PhD Thesis for outstanding thesis work. After completion of PhD, in 2011 Dr. Kumar joined the laboratory of Professor Cynthia Wolberger as an Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Because of his great interest in drug discovery against drug-resistant pathogens, Dr. Kumar later in 2014 joined the laboratory of Dr. Gyanu Lamichhane to investigate the research on Structure-based Drug Discovery against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Dr. Kumar was awarded the Young Investigator's Day Award, Helen B. Taussig Research Award, for his outstanding research contributions in drug discovery against tuberculosis at Johns Hopkins University. Currently, in the laboratory of Professor William Bishai, he is interested in the engineering and development of a second generation immunotoxin, Ontak, with a promise as a cancer therapeutics.

Preeti Thakur, PhD


About: Preeti received her M.Sc. in Biotechnology from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. Following her Master’s degree, she pursued PhD in biotechnology from Vaccine and Infectious Disease Research Centre at Translational Health Science and Technology institute, Faridabad, India. During PhD, she studied Sec-independent mechanism of protein translocation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Her current research interest is to deconvolute the molecular mechanism of Mtb pathogenesis to survive inside host.

Alok Singh, PhD


About: Alok received his M.Sc in Biotechnology from University of Calicut and joined National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi as junior research fellow in immunology in January, 2008. He joined Prof. Rentala Madhubala’s laboratory in July, 2009 for his doctoral research and received his Ph.D from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in July, 2015. During his graduate training Alok used proteomics and genomics approaches to identify drug-resistance mechanisms in clinical strains of Leishmania donovani. He identified macrophage proteome modulation and roles of host miR-30a-mediated manipulation of infection induced autophagy. Alok joined the Bishai laboratory in August 2015, as a post-doctoral fellow to investigate the “role of MTB-secreted moonlighting proteins in host immune subversion”. His research interests include “improving antigenic repertoire of Bacilli Calmette-Guérin (BCG) for bladder cancer immunotherapy” and “BCG-mediated trained immunity (TI)”.

Akshay Rohilla, PhD


About: Akshay did his B.Tech in bioinformatics from Jaypee university of Information Technology and Ph.D in Biochemistry from University of Delhi South Campus, India. He is interested in numerous aspects of therapeutic interventions against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. His PhD work involved in the identification and validation of inhibitors against crucial targets of M. tb. In the Bishai lab, he is interested in understanding the key host pathogen signalling molecules of M. tb and host proteins.

Amit Kumar, PhD


Graduate Students

Stefanie Krug


About: After growing up in Germany, Stefanie received the Highest Academic Achievement Award and an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Greenfield Community College. She went on to graduate summa cum laude with a B.S. with departmental honors in Biology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and Commonwealth College. Her past research experiences include proteomic studies of Treponema pallidum; molecular studies of Trypanosoma brucei; circadian rhythms in mice, hamsters and primary cell culture; epigenetic and hormonal regulation of sex differences in mouse brain; and HPT axis development in zebrafish. In 2014, she joined the Johns Hopkins Cellular and Molecular Medicine graduate program to pursue her interest in host-pathogen interactions. Her thesis work in the Bishai lab is focused on the role of the host enzyme PARP-1 in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis.

Elizabeth (Beth) A. Ihms, DVM, DACVP


About: Elizabeth (Beth) A. Ihms, DVM, DACVP, received her DVM summa cum laude from The Ohio State University and then joined the Molecular & Comparative Pathobiology program at Johns Hopkins University for formal training in comparative anatomic pathology and biomedical research. Beth joined the Bishai lab in 2015, where she utilizes multiple animal models of M. tb infection (primarily mice and rabbits) to understand how M. tb manipulates host immune pathways to spread in the body and between hosts. Specifically, Beth focuses on the contribution of mechanical factors to pulmonary cavitation, and the role of programmed cell death pathways during infection.

Scientific Staff

Linda Brady

Geltrouda Demczuk

~ The Bishai Laboratory ~
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
The Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

The Bishai Laboratory is a Member of the Center for Tuberculosis Research

1550 Orleans Street, Bldg. CRBII, Room 108
Baltimore, MD 21231-1001
Tel: 410-955-3507
Fax: 410-614-8173

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