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Principal Investigator

Beth McCormick

Beth A. McCormick, PhD

Professor & Vice Chair, Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems

Founding Director, UMass Center for Microbiome Research

Dr. McCormick is a classically trained bacteriologist with a broad background and extensive experience in the study of intestinal colonization and host-microbial interactions. Her academic career has been principally committed to gastrointestinal research and she has made seminal contributions toward the understanding of how enteric bacteria (commensal, pathogenic, or probiotic) colonize the intestine and interact with the host.

Dr. McCormick’s work provided the first evidence that epithelial cells in response to pathogen contact orchestrate a pro-inflammatory program, which recruits inflammatory cells. Dr. McCormick has since identified new, previously unidentified and unexpected virulence mechanisms that are key to the inflammatory response, leading to both novel biological principles of host-microbe interactions and therapeutic intervention strategies for the treatment inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer. Her work continues to identify novel ways in which microbes interact with the intestinal epithelium, publishing over 100 original research papers and opinion pieces in this area. Dr. McCormick is an elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, is on the Board of Editors for the journals Gastroenterology, and Gut Microbes, and serves as member of four Editorial Review Boards. She also is a permanent member of the GMPB NIH study section, and an advisor to several private foundations.

Additionally, Dr. McCormick has wealth of experience and a proven track record of mentoring trainees (PhD, MD, and MD, PhD) to transition to independent basic, clinical, and translation research positions. She has also mentored many junior faculty through the process of career development towards becoming an independent NIH funded researcher. Because of these success measures she is a Mentoring Program Leader, a mentor in the UMass Chan Millennium Ph.D, Program, and is a founding Program Leader in the Pathways to Independence initiative. In these efforts, Dr. McCormick works toward creating a collaborative mentoring network across academic missions and training programs to meet the needs of both mentees and mentors.


B.A. Microbiology (History minor), University of New Hampshire
PhD Microbiology, University of Rhode Island
Postdoctoral training, Gastrointestinal pathophysiology and Cancer Biology
Children’s Hospital & Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Selected Awards & Honors:


Excellence in Service Award, Partners Healthcare, Harvard Medical School


Excellence in Teaching Award, Harvard Medical School


President's Science and Technology Award, University of Massachusetts


Elected Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology


President's Technology and Commercialization Award
University of Massachusetts


Secretary Treasurer, American Physiology Society – GI and Liver Disease Section