Brendan P. Cormack, Ph.D.

Headshot of Brendan P. Cormack
  • Director, Infectious Disease, Translational Science Intersessions
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Research Interests

Fungal pathogenesis


Dr. Brendan Cormack is a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on fungal pathogenesis. Dr. Cormack serves as course director of infectious disease at the School of Medicine.

His team is currently studying the fungal pathogen Candida glabrata to understand how it has evolved to colonize and persist in the mammalian host.

Dr. Cormack received his undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School and completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University. Dr. Cormack joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1998.

He is a reviewer of science journals, including Molecular Microbiology and Infection and Immunity. His work has been recognized with a Searle Scholarship Award and a Burroughs Wellcome Career Award. more


  • Director, Infectious Disease, Translational Science Intersessions
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • Ph.D.; Harvard Medical School - Boston (Massachusetts) (1993)
  • B.Sc.; University of Alberta (Canada) (1986)

Additional Training

  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1997, Pathogenesis of Candida albicans and Candida glabrata

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Cormack is interested in how microbial pathogens have evolved to colonize and persist in the mammalian host. His lab studies the fungal pathogen Candida glabrata, an opportunistic pathogen responsible for 15 to 20 percent of Candidiasis in the U.S.

Dr. Cormack and his research team focus on two areas of investigation. First, they have generated large numbers of transposon mutants oaf C. glabrata and are screening these for mutants that are specifically altered in adherence to epithelial cells, in survival in the presence of macrophages and PMNs. Second, they are concentrating on a family of genes (the EPA genes) that allow the organism to bind to host cells.

They are trying to understand the contribution of this family to virulence in C. glabrata by addressing three questions, using the genetic tools they have already put in place:

  • What is the ligand specificity of different family members?
  • How are the genes normally regulated during infection?
  • What mechanisms normally act to keep the genes transcriptionally silent and how is that silencing regulated?

Selected Publications

Kaur R, Ma B, Cormack BP. "A family of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked aspartyl proteases is required for virulence of Candida glabrata." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 May 1;104(18):7628-33. Epub 2007 Apr 24.

Domergue R, Castaño I, De Las Peñas A, Zupancic M, Lockatell V, Hebel JR, Johnson D, Cormack BP. "Nicotinic acid limitation regulates silencing of Candida adhesins during UTI." Science. 2005 May 6;308(5723):866-70. Epub 2005 Mar 17.

Castaño I, Pan SJ, Zupancic M, Hennequin C, Dujon B, Cormack BP. "Telomere length control and transcriptional regulation of subtelomeric adhesins in Candida glabrata." Mol Microbiol. 2005 Feb;55(4):1246-58.

Frieman MB, Cormack BP. "The omega-site sequence of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae can determine distribution between the membrane and the cell wall." Mol Microbiol. 2003 Nov;50(3):883-96.

De Las Peñas A, Pan SJ, Castaño I, Alder J, Cregg R, Cormack BP. "Virulence-related surface glycoproteins in the yeast pathogen Candida glabrata are encoded in subtelomeric clusters and subject to RAP1- and SIR-dependent transcriptional silencing." Genes Dev. 2003 Sep 15;17(18):2245-58. Epub 2003 Sep 2.

Castano I, Kaur R, Pan S, Cregg R, Penas Ade L, Guo N, Biery MC, Craig NL, Cormack BP. "Tn7-based genome-wide random insertional mutagenesis of Candida glabrata." Genome Res. 2003 May;13(5):905-15. Epub 2003 Apr 14.

Frieman MB, McCaffery JM, Cormack BP. "Modular domain structure in the Candida glabrata adhesin Epa1p, a beta1,6 glucan-cross-linked cell wall protein." Mol Microbiol. 2002 Oct;46(2):479-92.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Courses and Syllabi

  • Translational Science Intersessions

Activities & Honors


  • Searle Scholarship Award, 1999
  • Burroughs Wellcome Career Award, 1997
  • Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1994
  • Howard Hughes Pre-doctoral Fellowship, 1988
  • Gold Medal in Science, 1986

Professional Activities

  • Editor, Comparative and Functional Genomics, 2000 - 2004
  • Editor, Cellular Microbiology, 2000 - 2003
  • Institute for Excellence in Education (IEE) Education Awards Selection Committee, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • MD-PhD Committee, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
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