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Paul J. Converse, Ph.D.

Research Associate, Division of Infectious Diseases

Paul Converse, Ph.D.

My research interests concern the interface of the pathogens, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. ulcerans, with human and experimental animal hosts. Studies in tuberculosis concern pathogenesis following infection with wild-type and gene deletion mutants as well as the impact of the immune system on the response to chemotherapeutic agents. Additionally, I am involved in studying the efficacy of novel compounds and antibiotic regimens against M. tuberculosis in the mouse model and in human whole blood assays. Studies on M. ulcerans, the causative agent of Buruli ulcer, have focused on differential response to vaccination in different mouse strains and the evaluation of novel chemotherapy regimens in comparison with the WHO standard of rifampin and streptomycin.

Business Address:

Center for Tuberculosis Research
Dept. of Medicine, Div. of Infectious Diseases
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
1551 E. Jefferson St., Room 154
Baltimore, MD 21287
Tel: 410-502-8236
Fax: 410-614-8173
Email Dr. Converse



To read some of these publications online, click here . Please note that to read the full text of some of these articles requires that you have an online subscription to the journal.

1: Grosset JH, Tyagi S, Almeida DV, Converse PJ, Li SY, Ammerman NC, Bishai WR, Enarson D, Trébucq A. Assessment of Clofazimine Activity in a Second-Line Regimen for Tuberculosis in Mice. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Jul 3. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23822735.

2: Sarfo FS, Converse PJ, Almeida DV, Zhang J, Robinson C, Wansbrough-Jones M, Grosset JH. Microbiological, histological, immunological, and toxin response to antibiotic treatment in the mouse model of Mycobacterium ulcerans disease. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013;7(3):e2101. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002101. Epub 2013 Mar 14. PMID: 23516649; PMCID: PMC3597478.

3: Almeida DV, Converse PJ, Li SY, Tyagi S, Nuermberger EL, Grosset JH. Bactericidal activity does not predict sterilizing activity: the case of rifapentine in the murine model of Mycobacterium ulcerans disease. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013;7(2):e2085. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002085. Epub 2013 Feb 28. PMID: 23469308; PMCID: PMC3585034.

4: Andréjak C, Almeida DV, Tyagi S, Converse PJ, Ammerman NC, Grosset JH. Improving existing tools for Mycobacterium xenopi treatment: assessment of drug combinations and characterization of mouse models of infection and chemotherapy. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2013 Mar;68(3):659-65. doi: 10.1093/jac/dks421. Epub 2012 Nov 5. PMID: 23129730; PMCID: PMC3566667.

5: Grosset J, Almeida D, Converse PJ, Tyagi S, Li SY, Ammerman NC, Pym AS, Wallengren K, Hafner R, Lalloo U, Swindells S, Bishai WR. Modeling early bactericidal activity in murine tuberculosis provides insights into the activity of isoniazid and pyrazinamide. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep11;109(37):15001-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1203636109. Epub 2012 Aug 27. PMID: 22927424; PMCID: PMC3443175.

6: Mekonnen W, Haile Mariam D, Kloos H, Converse PJ., Mulatu MS, Mitike G. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2011 Update. Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 26:119-149 (2012).

7: Converse PJ, Nuermberger EL, Almeida DV, Grosset JH. Treating Mycobacterium ulcerans disease (Buruli ulcer): from surgery to antibiotics, is the pill mightier than the knife? Future Microbiol. 2011 Oct;6(10):1185-98. doi:10.2217/fmb.11.101. Review. PMID: 22004037; PMCID:PMC3243445.

8: Converse PJ, Almeida DV, Nuermberger EL, Grosset JH. BCG-mediated protection against Mycobacterium ulcerans infection in the mouse. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Mar 15;5(3):e985. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000985. PMID: 21423646; PMCID: PMC3057947.

9: Kloos H, Converse PJ., Mulatu MS, Haile Mariam D, Assefa Y. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2010 Update. Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 25:71-98 (2011).

10: Zhang M, Li SY, Rosenthal IM, Almeida DV, Ahmad Z, Converse PJ, Peloquin CA, Nuermberger EL, Grosset JH. Treatment of tuberculosis with rifamycin-containing regimens in immune-deficient mice. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 May 1;183(9):1254-61. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201012-1949OC. Epub 2011 Feb 17. PMID: 21330452; PMCID: PMC3114054.

11: Almeida D, Converse PJ, Ahmad Z, Dooley KE, Nuermberger EL, Grosset JH. Activities of rifampin, Rifapentine and clarithromycin alone and in combination against Mycobacterium ulcerans disease in mice. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 Jan 4;5(1):e933. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000933. PMID: 21245920; PMCID: PMC3014976.

12: Zhang T, Li SY, Converse PJ, Almeida DV, Grosset JH, Nuermberger EL. Using bioluminescence to monitor treatment response in real time in mice with Mycobacterium ulcerans infection. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 Jan;55(1):56-61. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01260-10. Epub 2010 Nov 15. PMID: 21078940; PMCID: PMC3019670.

13: Mulatu MS, Converse PJ, Haile Mariam D, Kloos H. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2009 Update Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 24:64-86 (2010)

14: Converse PJ, Eisenach KD, Theus SA, Nuermberger EL, Tyagi S, Ly LH, Geiman DE, Guo H, Nolan ST, Akar NC, Klinkenberg LG, Gupta R, Lun S, Karakousis PC, Lamichhane G, McMurray DN, Grosset JH, Bishai WR. The impact of mouse passaging of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains prior to virulence testing in the mouse and guinea pig aerosol models. PLoS One. 2010 Apr 21;5(4):e10289. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010289. PMID: 20422019; PMCID: PMC2858211.

15: Yam KC, D'Angelo I, Kalscheuer R, Zhu H, Wang JX, Snieckus V, Ly LH, Converse PJ, Jacobs WR Jr, Strynadka N, Eltis LD. Studies of a ring-cleaving dioxygenase illuminate the role of cholesterol metabolism in the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. PLoS Pathog. 2009 Mar;5(3):e1000344. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000344. Epub 2009 Mar 20. PMID: 19300498; PMCID: PMC2652662.

16: Converse PJ, Karakousis PC, Klinkenberg LG, Kesavan AK, Ly LH, Allen SS, Grosset JH, Jain SK, Lamichhane G, Manabe YC, McMurray DN, Nuermberger EL, Bishai WR. Role of the dosR-dosS two-component regulatory system in Mycobacterium tuberculosis virulence in three animal models. Infect Immun. 2009 Mar;77(3):1230-7. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01117-08. Epub 2008 Dec 22. PMID: 19103767; PMCID: PMC2643651.

17: Converse PJ, Mulatu MS, Kloos H, Haile Mariam D, Wuhib T, Pankhurst A. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2008 Update. Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 23:73-94 (2009)

18: Abdul-Majid KB, Ly LH, Converse PJ, Geiman DE, McMurray DN, Bishai WR. Altered cellular infiltration and cytokine levels during early Mycobacterium tuberculosis sigC mutant infection are associated with late-stage disease attenuation and milder immunopathology in mice. BMC Microbiol. 2008 Sep 17;8:151. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-8-151. PMID: 18798983; PMCID: PMC2564956.

19: Bryk R, Gold B, Venugopal A, Singh J, Samy R, Pupek K, Cao H, Popescu C, Gurney M, Hotha S, Cherian J, Rhee K, Ly L, Converse PJ, Ehrt S, Vandal O, Jiang X, Schneider J, Lin G, Nathan C. Selective killing of nonreplicating mycobacteria. Cell Host Microbe. 2008 Mar 13;3(3):137-45. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2008.02.003. PMID: 18329613; PMCID: PMC2423947.

20: Kloos H, Assefa Y, Haile Mariam D, Mulatu MS, Converse PJ. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2007 Update, with an Emphasis on the ART Scale-Up. Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 22:71-95 (2008).

21: Jain SK, Hernandez-Abanto SM, Cheng QJ, Singh P, Ly LH, Klinkenberg LG, Morrison NE, Converse PJ, Nuermberger E, Grosset J, McMurray DN, Karakousis PC, Lamichhane G, Bishai WR. Accelerated detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis genes essential for bacterial survival in guinea pigs, compared with mice. J Infect Dis. 2007 Jun 1;195(11):1634-42. Epub 2007 Apr 23. PMID: 17471433.

22: Mulatu MS, Kloos H, Converse PJ, and Haile Mariam D. 2007. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2006 Update. Ethiop. J. Health Dev 21:70-91.

23: Shah SS, McGowan JP, Klein RS, Converse PJ, Blum S, Gourevitch MN. Agreement between Mantoux skin testing and QuantiFERON-TB assay using dual mycobacterial antigens in current and former injection drug users. Med Sci Monit. 2006 Apr;12(4):MT11-6. Epub 2006 Mar 28. PMID: 16572060.

24: Converse PJ, Mulatu MS, Kloos H, Haile Mariam D, Wuhib T, and Pankhurst A. 2006. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2005 Update. Ethiop. J. Health Dev 20:60-70.

25: Mulatu MS, Kloos H, Converse PJ, Wuhib T, and Pankhurst A. 2005. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: The 2004 Update. Ethiop. J. Health Dev 19:65-85.

26: Converse PJ. 2004. Dual infection: the challenge of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in Ethiopia. Northeast African Studies 7:147-165.

27: Sun R, Converse PJ, Ko C, Tyagi S, Morrison NE, Bishai WR. Mycobacterium tuberculosis ECF sigma factor sigC is required for lethality in mice and for the conditional expression of a defined gene set. Mol Microbiol. 2004 Apr;52(1):25-38. PMID: 15049808.

28: Geiman DE, Kaushal D, Ko C, Tyagi S, Manabe YC, Schroeder BG, Fleischmann RD, Morrison NE, Converse PJ, Chen P, Bishai WR. Attenuation of late-stage disease in mice infected by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis mutant lacking the SigF alternate sigma factor and identification of SigF-dependent genes by microarray analysis. Infect Immun. 2004 Mar;72(3):1733-45. PMID: 14977982; PMCID: PMC356042.

29: Kloos, H, Mulatu MS, and Converse PJ. 2004. Bibliography on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia and Ethiopians in the Diaspora: 2003 Update. Ethiop. J. Health Dev 18:57-64.

30: Ando M, Yoshimatsu T, Ko C, Converse PJ, Bishai WR. Deletion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis sigma factor E results in delayed time to death with bacterial persistence in the lungs of aerosol-infected mice. Infect Immun. 2003 Dec;71(12):7170-2. PMID: 14638810; PMCID: PMC308924.

31: Ando M, Manabe YC, Converse PJ, Miyazaki E, Harrison R, Murphy JR, Bishai WR. Characterization of the role of the divalent metal ion-dependent transcriptional repressor MntR in the virulence of Staphylococcus aureus. Infect Immun. 2003 May;71(5):2584-90. PMID: 12704132; PMCID: PMC153293.

32: Kimura M, Converse PJ, Astemborski J, Rothel JS, Vlahov D, Comstock GW, Graham NM, Chaisson RE, Bishai WR. Comparison between a whole blood interferon-gamma release assay and tuberculin skin testing for the detection of tuberculosis infection among patients at risk for tuberculosis exposure. J Infect Dis. 1999 May;179(5):1297-300. PMID: 10191241.

33: Converse PJ, Dannenberg AM Jr, Shigenaga T, McMurray DN, Phalen SW, Stanford JL, Rook GA, Koru-Sengul T, Abbey H, Estep JE, Pitt ML. Pulmonary bovine-type tuberculosis in rabbits: bacillary virulence, inhaled dose effects, tuberculin sensitivity, and Mycobacterium vaccae immunotherapy. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1998 Nov;5(6):871-81. PMID: 9801350; PMCID: PMC96217.

34: DeKeyser FG, Wainstock JM, Rose L, Converse PJ, Dooley W. Distress, symptom distress, and immune function in women with suspected breast cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 1998 Sep;25(8):1415-22. PMID: 9766295.

35: Sugisaki K, Dannenberg AM Jr, Abe Y, Tsuruta J, Su WJ, Said W, Feng L, Yoshimura T, Converse PJ, Mounts P. Nonspecific and immune-specific up-regulation of cytokines in rabbit dermal tuberculous (BCG) lesions. J Leukoc Biol. 1998 Apr;63(4):440-50. PMID: 9544573.

36: Converse PJ, Jones SL, Astemborski J, Vlahov D, Graham NM. Comparison of a tuberculin interferon-gamma assay with the tuberculin skin test in high-risk adults: effect of human immunodeficiency virus infection. J Infect Dis. 1997 Jul;176(1):144-50. PMID: 9207360.

37: Converse PJ, Dannenberg AM Jr, Estep JE, Sugisaki K, Abe Y, Schofield BH, Pitt ML. Cavitary tuberculosis produced in rabbits by aerosolized virulent tubercle bacilli. Infect Immun. 1996 Nov;64(11):4776-87. PMID: 8890239; PMCID: PMC174445.

38: Esa AH, Converse PJ. Nordihydroguaiaretic acid blocks IL-2-independent lymphocyte proliferation and enhances responses to PPD. Scand J Immunol. 1996 Feb;43(2):127-33. PMID: 8633191.

39: Converse PJ, Haines VL, Wondimu A, Craig LE, Meyers WM. Infection of SCID mice with Mycobacterium leprae and control with antigen-activated "immune" human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Infect Immun. 1995 Mar;63(3):1047-54. PMID: 7868226; PMCID: PMC173108.

40: Ohman R, Walford C, Converse P, Ridell M. Reactions to antigens from actinomycetes including Mycobacterium leprae in leprosy patients. Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1991 Jun;59(2):320-2. PMID: 2071990.

41: Kaleab B, Ottenoff T, Converse P, Halapi E, Tadesse G, Rottenberg M, Kiessling R. Mycobacterial-induced cytotoxic T cells as well as nonspecific killer cells derived from healthy individuals and leprosy patients. Eur J Immunol. 1990 Dec;20(12):2651-9. PMID: 2269329.

42: Converse PJ, Fehniger TE, Ehrnst A, Strannegård O, Britton S. Immune responses to fractionated cytomegalovirus (CMV) antigens after HIV infection. Loss of cellular and humoral reactivity to antigens recognized by HIV-, CMV+ individuals. Clin Exp Immunol. 1990 Dec;82(3):559-66. PMID: 2176140; PMCID: PMC1535510.

43: Converse P, Ottenhoff TH, Work Teklemariam S, Hancock GE, Dietz M, Becx-Bleumink M, Wondimu A, Kiessling R, Cohn ZA, Kaplan G. Intradermal recombinant interleukin 2 enhances peripheral blood T-cell responses to mitogen and antigens in patients with lepromatous leprosy. Scand J Immunol. 1990 Aug;32(2):83-91. PMID: 2389115.

44: Ottenhoff TH, Converse PJ, Gebre N, Wondimu A, Ehrenberg JP, Kiessling R. T cell responses to fractionated Mycobacterium leprae antigens in leprosy. The lepromatous nonresponder defect can be overcome in vitro by stimulation with fractionated M. leprae components. Eur J Immunol. 1989 Apr;19(4):707-13. PMID: 2659369.

45: Kaplan G, Kiessling R, Teklemariam S, Hancock G, Sheftel G, Job CK, Converse P, Ottenhoff TH, Becx-Bleumink M, Dietz M, et al. The reconstitution of cell-mediated immunity in the cutaneous lesions of lepromatous leprosy by recombinant interleukin 2. J Exp Med. 1989 Mar 1;169(3):893-907. PMID: 2494293; PMCID: PMC2189266.

46: Converse PJ, Ottenhoff TH, Gebre N, Ehrenberg JP, Kiessling R. Cellular, humoral, and gamma interferon responses to Mycobacterium leprae and BCG antigens in healthy individuals exposed to leprosy. Scand J Immunol. 1988 May;27(5):515-25. PMID: 3131867.

47: Ottenhoff TH, Mengistu M, Tadesse G, De Vries RR, Converse PJ. HLA-DR and DQ antigens in insulin-dependent diabetics in Ethiopia. Tissue Antigens. 1987 Nov;30(5):193-7. PMID: 3125628.

48: Converse PJ, Mshana RM, Bjune GJ. Cimetidine inhibits suppressor factor production in Ethiopian lepromatous leprosy patients. Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1987 Sep;55(3):548-53. PMID: 3655466.

49: Ottenhoff TH, Converse PJ, Bjune G, de Vries RR. HLA antigens and neural reversal reactions in Ethiopian borderline tuberculoid leprosy patients. Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1987 Jun;55(2):261-6. PMID: 3474306.

50: Esa AH, Converse PJ, Hess AD. Cyclosporine inhibits soluble antigen and alloantigen presentation by human monocytes in vitro. Int J Immunopharmacol. 1987;9(8):893-902. PMID: 3501413.

51: Converse PJ, Bjune G. Natural killer (NK) cell activity and reversal reaction in leprosy. Int J Lepr Other Mycobact Dis. 1986 Dec;54(4):503-9. PMID: 3819526.

52: Vogelsang GB, Hess AD, Berkman AW, Tutschka PJ, Farmer ER, Converse PJ, Santos GW. An in vitro predictive test for graft versus host disease in patients with genotypic HLA-identical bone marrow transplants. N Engl J Med. 1985 Sep 12;313(11):645-50. PMID: 3894963.

53: Converse PJ, Hess AD. Effect of cyclosporin and interleukin-2 on the restoration of in vitro immune responses to cytomegalovirus. Scand J Immunol. 1985 Feb;21(2):109-18. PMID: 2983414.

54: Converse PJ, Hess AD, Tutschka PJ, Santos GW. Effect of cyclosporine on the response of normal human lymphocytes to cytomegalovirus in vitro. Infect Immun. 1983 Sep;41(3):1226-33. PMID: 6309665; PMCID: PMC264630.

55: Simpson, T. W., P. J. Converse, and B. Gebrian. 1982. Medical and psychosocial problems of Indochinese refugees in the USA, New Developments in Tropical Medicine.

56: Converse PJ, Williams DR. Increased HLA-B heterozygosity with age. Tissue Antigens. 1978 Oct;12(4):275-8. PMID: 83025.