Dr. Deretic is the departmental chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He received his undergraduate, graduate (Ph.D.) and postdoctoral education in Belgrade, Paris, and Chicago. Dr. Deretic's main contributions to science come from studies by his team on the role of autophagy in infection and immunity. Dr. Deretic is the director of the NIH-funded Autophagy, Inflammation and Metabolism (AIM) Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE). The AIM center aims to promote autophagy research nationally and internationally as well as to develop a cadre of junior faculty along with senior experts in this area to study fundamental mechanisms and how autophagy intersects with a broad spectrum of human disease and health states.

Personal Statement

Dr. Deretic is an international authority on the role of autophagy in inflammation and immunity. The connections between autophagy and tuberculosis began with Dr. Deretic’s seminal publication on the role of autophagy in control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) published in Cell in 2004. This was followed by sustained development of the filed including Dr. Deretic’s publications in Science 2006, Nature Cell Biology 2010, a series of studies in Immunity, and more recent studies in 2015-2017 published in Molecular Cell, JCB, Developmental Cell, EMBO J, etc. Dr. Deretic has been consistently invited to summarize the new field of autophagy as an innate immunity and anti-inflammatory process as exemplified in the earliest reviews on this topic in 2005 and most recently in Nature Reviews Immunology (2013), JCI (2015) J. Exp. Med. (2015), and JLB (2016). His group reported a broad role of proteins termed TRIMs (82 members in humans) as autophagic regulator-receptors, published in a series articles in Developmental Cell (2014, 2016) J. Cell Biol. (2015), etc. Dr. Deretic’s lab reported on the role of specific SNAREs in controlling how autophagy terminates - in secretion (EMBO J 2017) or degradation (J. Cell Biol, 2018). Most recently, Dr. Deretic and colleagues have uncovered the role of cytosolic lectins, termed galectins, in direct control of mTOR and AMPK, the most upstream regulators of autophagy and master regulators of cellular metabolism (Molecular Cell, 2018). In terms of translational efforts, Dr. Deretic’s group has identified a series of potential therapeutics aimed at autophagy, ready for repurposing (Nature Comm., 2015; and US patent 9572820). Dr. Deretic was 2012 Chair of Gordon Research Conference on Autophagy, and will be the lead organizer/chair of the 2019 Keystone Symposium on Autophagy. As a Chairman of a basic science department in a medical school and Director of the Autophagy, Inflammation and Metabolism (AIM) center on autophagy, Dr. Deretic has considerable organizational, fiscal, programmatic, mentoring, and networking skills. While his administrative duties are many, his own research has been exceptionally productive and at a cutting edge of international science. Dr. Deretic’s has demonstrated abilities to balance administrative responsibilities with high-end scientific endeavors. Dr. Deretic to this day works experimentally in the laboratory, specializing in high content and quantitative microscopy.

Areas of Specialty

Autophagy Tuberculosis HIV Microbiology Immunology




  • English

Courses Taught

UME Phase I courses related to immunology, microbiology and infectious diseases

Research and Scholarship

Dr. Deretic's main contribution to science comes from the initial report and sustained follow-up studies by his team on the role of autophagy in infection and immunity in which he and his group (along with others) pioneered and developed this area into a burgeoning field of study. The historical backdrop to the impact of Dr. Deretic’s work is best appreciated by understanding that autophagy, prior to Dr. Deretic’s work, has been limited to its role in metabolism and cytoplasmic quality control (see Nature Reviews poster by Klionsky & Deretic: Dr. Deretic’s work on autophagy in immunity coincides with the beginnings of the appreciation of autophagy’s role in human health (1a). Dr. Deretic’s group is one of those that made the discovery that autophagy is a major effector and regulator of immunity (see sections 2,4, and 5 below). A series of invited reviews over past 10 years by Deretic and colleagues attest to the role that Dr. Deretic has played in developing this field and includes the first recognition of the broadly integrated role of autophagy in immunity as well as the most recent summaries of the role of autophagy in immunity and inflammation (1b-d). For other representative primary publications and a breakdown of specific subsets of research contributions in this area see sections 2-5, below. a. Deretic V, Klionsky DJ. How cells clean house. Sci Am. 2008 May;298(5):74-81. PubMed PMID: 18444328. b. Deretic V, Saitoh T, Akira S. Autophagy in infection, inflammation and immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Oct;13(10):722-37. PubMed PMID: 24064518. c. Rubinsztein, DC, Bento, CF, Deretic, V. Therapeutic targeting of autophagy in neurodegenerative and infectious diseases. J Exp Med, 2015, Jun 29;212(7):979-990. PMID: 26101267. d. Deretic V. Autophagy in leukocytes and other cells: mechanisms, subsystem organization, selectivity, and links to innate immunity. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2016; 100(5):969-978. PMID: 27493243.