William Ramses Bishai, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Tuberculosis Research
  • Professor of Medicine


Infectious Disease

Research Interests

Molecular biology of mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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Dr. William Bishai is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He holds joint appointments in pathology and in molecular biology and genetics and, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in international health. His area of clinical expertise is infectious diseases. Dr. Bishai serves as co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Tuberculosis Research

Dr. Bishai received his B.A. from Harvard University and an M.Phil. from Cambridge University. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard and completed his residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He performed his fellowship in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Bishai was a Howard Hughes postdoctoral research fellow before he joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1994.

His research focuses on the molecular biology of mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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  • Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Tuberculosis Research
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Joint Appointment in Pathology
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • MD PhD; Harvard Medical School (1989)


  • Brigham and Women's Hospital (1991)


  • Infectious Diseases; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1994)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine (Infectious Disease) (2017)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Bishai is interested in the molecular pathogenesis of tuberculosis. Since Mycobacterium tuberculosis senses and adapts to a wide array of conditions during the disease process, it is clear that the regulation of expression of virulence factors plays an important role in pathogenesis. Hence, a theme of his research has been to assess mycobacterial genes important in gene regulation.

Other active interests are cell division in mycobacteria and the pathogenesis of caseation and cavitation. The use of the mouse and rabbit models of tuberculosis has been a prominent aspect of these studies. Goals of the research program are first to better understand tuberculosis pathogenesis, and then to employ this understanding toward improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.

Selected Publications

Silva JR, Bishai WR, Govender T, Lamichhane G, Maguire GE, Kruger HG, Lameira J, Alves CN. “Targeting the cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis: a molecular modeling investigation of the interaction of imipenem and meropenem with L,D-transpeptidase 2.” J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2016 Feb;34(2):304-17. doi: 10.1080/07391102.2015.1029000. Epub 2015 Jul 24.

Maiga MC, Ahidjo BA, Maiga M, Bishai WR. “Roflumilast, a Type 4 phosphodiesterase inhibitor, shows promising adjunctive, host-directed therapeutic activity in a mouse model of tuberculosis.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015;59(12):7888-7890.

Winglee K, Lun S, Pieroni M, Kozikowski A, Bishai W. “Mutation of Rv2887, a marR-like gene, confers Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance to an imidazopyridine-based agent.” Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015 Nov;59(11):6873-81. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01341-15. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

Cohen KA, Abeel T, Manson McGuire A, Desjardins CA, Munsamy V, Shea TP3, Walker BJ, Bantubani N, Almeida DV, Alvarado L, Chapman SB, Mvelase NR, Duffy EY, Fitzgerald MG, Govender P, Gujja S, Hamilton S, Howarth C, Larimer JD, Maharaj K, Pearson MD, Priest ME, Zeng Q, Padayatchi N, Grosset J, Young SK, Wortman J, Mlisana KP, O'Donnell MR, Birren BW, Bishai WR, Pym AS, Earl AM. “Evolution of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis over four decades: whole genome sequencing and dating analysis of mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from KwaZulu-Natal.” PLoS Med. 2015 Sep 29;12(9):e1001880. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001880. eCollection 2015.

Srikrishna G, Gupta S, Dooley KE, Bishai WR. “Can the addition of verapamil to bedaquiline-containing regimens improve tuberculosis treatment outcomes? A novel approach to optimizing TB treatment.” Future Microbiol. 2015;10(8):1257-60. doi: 10.2217/FMB.15.56. Epub 2015 Jul 30.

Maiga M, Ahidjo BA, Miaga MC, Cheung L, Pelly S, Lun S, Bougoudogo F, Bishai WR. “Efficacy of adjunctive tofacitinib therapy in mouse models of tuberculosis.” EBioMedicine. 2015;2(8):868-873.

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