Joseph W. St. Geme, MD

Joseph St. Geme, MD, is physician-in-chief and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is a member of the Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology Program in the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group.

Areas of Expertise: Bacterial pathogenesis, Bacterial colonization, Haemophilus influenzae virulence factors, Kingella kingae virulence factors, Meningitis, Respiratory tract infections, Osteoarticular infections
Locations: Main Campus
Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)

  • Background

    Joseph W. St. Geme III, MD, received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. He completed a pediatric residency and chief residency at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and pursued postdoctoral training in microbiology and infectious diseases at Stanford University.

    From 1992 to 2005, Dr. St. Geme was a member of the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. There he served as director of pediatric infectious diseases and co-leader of the Pediatric Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Research Unit. In 2005, Dr. St. Geme was recruited to Duke University, Durham, NC, where he was the James B. Duke professor and chairman of pediatrics, the chief medical officer of Duke Children’s Hospital, and a professor of molecular genetics and microbiology.

    In 2013, Dr. St. Geme relocated to Philadelphia to assume new responsibilities as the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition, he is also chairman of Pediatrics and professor of pediatrics and microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Dr. St. Geme has an active laboratory research program that focuses on the molecular basis of host-pathogen interactions involving pathogenic bacteria, with particular emphasis on Haemophilus influenzae and Kingella kingaeHaemophilus influenzae is common in the nasopharynx and is the leading cause of otitis media and sinusitis in children, and exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults. Kingella kingae is common in the posterior pharynx and has emerged as a major cause of bone and joint infections in young children.

    Dr. St. Geme and his research team are using genetic methods, protein chemistry, X-ray crystallography, high-resolution microscopy, microarray analysis, and cell biology approaches to study the molecular and cellular determinants of Haemophilus influenzae and Kingella kingae disease, aiming to understand how these organisms:

    1. Initiate infection
    2. Establish a state of commensalism
    3. Transition from a state of commensalism to produce disease

    The team's long-term goals are to identify common mechanisms in bacterial pathogenesis and to develop new antimicrobials with activity against a wide range of pathogenic gram-negative bacteria.

    Dr. St. Geme has been elected to the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Pediatric Society, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Medicine.

  • Education and Training

    Medical School

    MD - Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


    Pediatrics — The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA


    Pediatrics — The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA (Chief Resident)

    Additional Training

    Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Microbiology and Immunology — Stanford University, Stanford, CA
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases — Stanford University, Stanford, CA

    Board Certification

    Pediatric Infectious Diseases

  • Titles and Academic Titles

    Chairman, Department of Pediatrics


    Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

  • Departments and Services
  • Research Interests
    • Host-bacterial interactions
    • Haemophilus influenzae pathogenicity
    • Haemophilus influenzae vaccine development
    • Bacterial protein secretion
    • Innate immune mechanisms
    • Kingella kingae pathogenicity
    • Haemophilus cryptic genospecies pathogenicity
  • Publications



    Rempe KA, Spruce LA, Porsch EA, Seeholzer SH, Nørskov-Lauritsen N, St Geme JW 3rd. Unconventional N-Linked Glycosylation Promotes Trimeric Autotransporter Function in Kingella kingae and Aggregatibacter aphrophilus. MBio. 2015 Aug 25;6(4). pii: e01206-15. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01206-15.

    Grass S, Rempe KA, St Geme JW 3rd. Structural determinants of the interaction between the TpsA and TpsB proteins in the Haemophilus influenzae HMW1 two-partner secretion system. J Bacteriol. 2015 May;197(10):1769-80. doi: 10.1128/JB.00039-15. Epub 2015 Mar 16.

    Mendoza FS, Walker LR, Stoll BJ, Fuentes-Afflick E, St Geme JW 3rd, Cheng TL, Gonzalez del Rey JA, Harris CE, Rimsza ME, Li J, Sectish TC. Diversity and inclusion training in pediatric departments. Pediatrics. 2015 Apr;135(4):707-13. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1653. Epub 2015 Mar 9.

    Lautz AJ, Jenssen B, McGuire J, St Geme JW 3rd. A 33-month-old with fever and altered mental status. Pediatrics. 2015 Jan;135(1):120-5. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2405. Epub 2014 Dec 8.


    Spahich NA, Kenjale R, McCann J, Meng G, Ohashi T, Erickson H, St Geme JW. Structural determinants of the interaction between the Haemophilus influenzae Hap autotransporter and fibronectin. Microbiology. 2014 Mar 31.

    McCann JR, Sheets AJ, Grass S, St Geme JW 3rd. The Haemophilus cryptic genospecies Cha adhesin has at least two variants that differ in host cell binding, bacterial aggregation, and biofilm formation properties. J Bacteriol. 2014 May;196(9):1780-8.


    Starr KF, Porsch EA, Heiss C, Black I, Wang Z, Azadi P, St. Geme JWIII. Characterization of the Kingella kingae polysaccharide capsule and exopolysaccharide. PLoS One. 2013 Sep 30;8(9):e75409

    Porsch EA, Johnson MDL, Broadnax AD, Garrett CG, Redinbo MR, St. Geme JWIII. Calcium binding properties of the Kingella kingae PilC1 and PilC2 proteins have differential effects on type IV pilus-mediated adherence and twitching motility. J Bacteriol. 2013 Feb;195(4):886-95