Derek Fisher | Microbiology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Agriculture, Life and Physical Sciences

Derek Fisher

Associate Professor

Derek Fisher

Life Science III 1007
Phone: 618-453-5201
Fax: 618-453-8036


Fisher webpage


Research Specialties: Bacterial physiology and pathogenesis focusing on Chlamydia . Chlamydia spp. are Gram negative, obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens which cause disease in humans as well as economically important domestic animals. These bacteria mainly infect the mucosal epithelial layer lining the lung, ocular, digestive, and genital tracts eliciting damage primarily in the form of immunopathology. In humans, C. trachomatis is responsible for trachoma (the leading cause of preventable infectious blindness worldwide, WHO) and is the leading cause of reported bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States (and worldwide) with over 1.6 million chlamydia cases reported in 2021 (CDC). Infections in women are of particular concern as they can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, or infertility. Chlamydia pneumoniae infects the respiratory tract causing pneumonia. While the incidence of chlamydial pneumonia is unknown, there are over 2 million reported cases of pneumonia in the United States each year (CDC). Furthermore, C. pneumoniae infections are a suspected risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. While antibiotics are relatively effective in treating chlamydial infections, treatment failure occurs and the current antibiotics of choice are broad spectrum leading to disruption of the normal microflora  of the patient. Development of narrow spectrum, Chlamydia-specific antibiotics would be a boon to public health. Concurrently, the high percentage of asymptomatic chlamydia infections (≥60%), and the link between these infections and chronic disease, illustrates the urgent need to develop vaccines and anti-infectives. And, of course, we need continued public outreach for prevention of all STIs.


PhD, 2006, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Courses Taught:

MICR/MBMB 403: Medical Microbiology

MICR/MBMB 425: Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms


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