Joseph Heitman

Joseph Heitman


  • Program Co-Director
  • Fungal Kingdom: Threats & Opportunities


  • Duke University
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology


  • Canada


PhD, The Rockefeller University
MD, Cornell University Medical College
MS, The University of Chicago
BS (General and special Honors), The University of Chicago


Joseph Heitman is the James B. Duke Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics.

His studies focus on microorganisms, addressing fundamental biological questions and unmet medical needs.  Dr. Heitman and his colleagues focus on model and pathogenic yeasts including Cryptococcus neoformans and other diverse species from the fungal kingdom. Their studies with fungi as genetic models have revealed biological and genetic principles that can be generalized as models for eukaryotic cell and organism function. 


ASM Award for Basic Research, American Society for Microbiology for discoveries fundamental in advancing our understanding of the microbial world, 2019

Fellow, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2003

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2004

Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 2004

Fellow, Association of American Physicians, 2006

Relevant Publications

Calo, S., C. Wall, S.C. Lee, R.J. Bastidas, F.E. Nicolás, J.A. Granek, P. Mieczkowski, S. Torres-Martinez, R.M. Ruiz-Vazquez, M.E. Cardenas and J. Heitman. "Antifungal drug resistance evoked via RNAi-dependent epimutations." Nature 513 (2014): 555-558.

Ni, M., M. Feretzaki, W. Li, A. Floyd-Averette, P. Mieczkowski, F.S. Dietrich, and J. Heitman. "Unisexual and heterosexual meiotic reproduction generate aneuploidy and phenotypic diversity de novo in the yeast Cryptococcus neoformans." PLOS Biology 11 (2013): e1001653, 2013.

Byrnes, E. J., W. Li., Y. Lewit, H. Ma, K. Voeltz, P. Ren, D.A. Carter, V. Chaturvedi, R.J. Bildfell, R.C. May and J. Heitman. "Emergence and pathogenicity of highly virulent Cryptococcus gattii genotypes in the Northwest United States." PLOS Pathogens 6 (2010): e1000850.

Lin, X., C.M. Hull and J. Heitman. "Sexual reproduction between partners of the same mating-type in Cryptococcus neoformans." Nature 434 (2005): 1017-1021.

Heitman, J., N.R. Movva and  M.N. Hall. "Targets for cell cycle arrest by the immunosuppressant rapamycin in yeast." Science 253 (1991): 905-909.