Raphael Valdivia, PhD – Biography


research • biography • lab members • publications


Raphael Valdivia, PhD, received his B.S. in Microbiology from Cornell University in 1991. He moved to California to begin graduate studies with Stanley Falkow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. In Dr. Falkow’s laboratory Dr. Valdivia devised a fluorescence-based screen to identify virulence factors that are induced when pathogens enter a host cell and which are involved in remodeling the host cell’s endosomal compartments.  In the process, he developed new generations of green fluorescent proteins that are widely used today.  In 1998, Dr. Valdivia received a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellowship and moved to the University of California, Berkeley to study endosome dynamics and biogenesis in the laboratory of Randy Schekman. At Berkeley, Dr. Valdivia used the formidable tools of genetics and biochemistry of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to uncover novel transport pathways between endosomal compartments.

Dr. Valdivia is particularly interested in developing new methods and technologies to tackle understudied microbial diseases that have been traditionally recalcitrant to experimentation.  In his current work, Dr. Valdivia focuses on the mechanisms used by the widely disseminated intracellular pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis to cause sexually transmitted infections.  His laboratory has developed and applied a range of techniques from new methods for bacterial genetic analysis to state-of-the art proteomic and genomic approaches to identify and characterize Chlamydia virulence factors.

In 2004, Dr. Valdivia earned recognition as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. He was also the recipient of the 2007 Merck Irving S. Sigal Award from the ASM, and he was selected as a 2007 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Valdivia also serves as an editor in multiple journals (PLoS Pathogens, Pathogens and Disease, the Journal of Bacteriology, and Infection and Immunity), is a standing member of NIH review panels, and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2012. Dr. Valdivia is the founding Director of the Duke Center for the Genomics of Microbial System (GeMS).