Published: Oct. 22, 2014

Dirita recommended as R. Hugh Endowed Chair

Contact(s): Casey Williamson College of Veterinary Medicine office: (517) 353-9849

Victor J. DiRita

Victor J. DiRita has been recommended to serve as the Rudolph Hugh Endowed Chair in Microbial Pathogenesis at Michigan State University and 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.

He would assume his new role on June 1, 2015, pending approval by the MSU Board of Trustees.

DiRita comes to MSU from the University of Michigan where he is currently professor of microbiology and immunology, and associate dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in the medical school.

He earned his bachelor's degree in microbiology and public health at MSU, doctoral degree in biological sciences from Purdue University, and carried out postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School before joining the faculty at U-M.

DiRita’s research is aimed at uncovering and characterizing pathogenicity mechanisms in the diarrheal pathogens Vibrio cholerae and Campylobacter jejuni. As an independent investigator his research has been continuously federally supported since he joined the faculty at Michigan in 1991. He is also program director of the NIH-funded Molecular Mechanisms in Microbial Pathogenesis Training Program there.

DiRita has other leadership and service experience at U-M and nationally, through various positions including as former vice chair of the U-M Medical School Biological Sciences Scholars Program Faculty Search Committee, past chair of the U-M Medical School Biomedical Research Council, former chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity, member of the NIH Bacterial Pathogenesis Study section, editor for Journal of Bacteriology and chair of the American Society for Microbiology Membership Board.

“I am very pleased to welcome Dr. DiRita to the MSU community,” said College of Veterinary Medicine Dean John Baker, speaking also on behalf of the deans of the Colleges of Natural Science, Osteopathic Medicine, and Human Medicine.

“Victor is a strong academic leader and creative research scientist. I expect we will see a focus on interdisciplinary outreach and collaboration. We look forward to having him take on his new roles at MSU.”

As chairperson, DiRita will lead the department of approximately 50 faculty members. His responsibilities will be divided between research and administration.

“Coming to the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at MSU is a wonderful opportunity,” said DiRita. “Returning to the department where my research focus was sparked and fostered as an undergraduate in the lab of Robert Brubaker is very special. I look forward to joining the excellent community of scholars in the department and working with them to build strong cross-campus collaborations in research and education."

He succeeds Robert Hausinger, who has served as interim chair since 2013.