Victor J. Dirita

Victor J.  Dirita
  • Professor Rudolph Hugh Endowed Chair
  • Established through a gift from Rudolph Hugh
  • Microbiology and Molecular Genetics


Victor J. DiRita, Rudolph Hugh Endowed Chair in Microbial Pathogenesis, has focused his research on uncovering pathogenicity mechanisms in a range of bacteria including Vibrio cholerae, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Campylobacter jejuni. His research aims to develop and apply novel molecular and genetic technologies and to design innovative approaches for discovering new therapeutics. DiRita was appointed chairperson of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, which is a shared department of the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Human Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine and Natural Science, in June 2015.

DiRita received his B.S. in Microbiology and Public Health from MSU, and his Ph.D. in biological sciences from Purdue University. He did postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining MSU in June 2015, he was professor of microbiology and immunology, and associate dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies, at the University of Michigan Medical School.

DiRita has held several key leadership positions throughout his career. In addition to serving as associate dean at Michigan, he developed and directed the NIH-funded Molecular Mechanisms in Microbial Pathogenesis Training Program there.  He chaired the 2008 Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity and is currently an editor for the Journal of Bacteriology, a member of the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases study section for the NIH, chair of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Council on Microbial Sciences and member of the ASM Board of Directors. His independent research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1989.