Mary Jane Ferraro, PhD, MPH

Subspecialty Co-Head, Microbiology Laboratory,
Massachusetts General Hospital

Professor of Pathology, Professor of Medicine,
Harvard Medical School




Mary Jane Ferraro, PhD, MPH, is the Co-Director of the clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.  She is responsible for the activities of several professional colleagues and over 75 employees in diagnostic testing, encompassing bacteriology, mycology, mycobacteriology, parasitology, serology, virology, susceptibility testing, and molecular diagnostics.  Dr. Ferraro’s work has led to setting worldwide susceptibility testing performance and quality standards, and guidelines. Her laboratory management expertise and knowledge have kept the Massachusetts General Hospital microbiology laboratories at the cutting edge of laboratories throughout the country.

Dr. Ferraro received her PhD degree from Boston University School of Medicine in Medical Sciences, and her MPH degree from the Harvard School of Public Health, where she was the recipient of a United States Public Health Service (USPHS) training grant designed to train directors of large infectious disease laboratories.  Dr. Ferraro joined the Mass General Hospital staff in 1976, and become director of Microbiology in 1982. Dr. Ferraro was appointed Professor of Pathology in 2004 and Professor of Medicine in 2006, further distinguishing her as one of the few women ever to have held dual professorships at Harvard Medical School. Her accomplishments have been documented in the recently published history of Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Ferraro is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America and has served as Councilor and Program Chair for Division C of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

A Member of the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute Subcommittee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing since 1990, she served as the Chairholder of that Subcommittee from 1997 until 2002.  From 2003 until 2012, she served as Chairholder or Vice-Chairholder of the CLSI Area Committee on Microbiology, which is the parent Committee for all 14 national CLSI subcommittees on Microbiology procedures and Susceptibility Testing. She is currently a member of the Diagnostics Policy Task Force for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.


Dr. Ferraro's clinical and laboratory research includes studies on the development and validation of new approaches to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, methods for early, direct detection of microorganisms in clinical specimens, and appropriate utilization and cost-effectiveness of diagnostic tests in microbiology. She is the author of over 120 publications in scientific journals, as well as numerous textbook chapters and review articles. She has been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, and served as Co-editor of the Clinical Microbiology Newsletter and Section Editor for the ASM Manual of Clinical Microbiology.

Research Interests

Methods for early, direct detection of microorganisms in clinical specimens; automation of diagnostic methods in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory; utilization and cost-effectiveness of diagnostic tests in Clinical Microbiology; development and validation of new approaches to antimicrobial susceptibility testing; and in vitro susceptibility studies of new antimicrobial agents.

For more information about research concepts, co-authors, and to see a timeline, visit  Dr. Ferraro's profile at the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center.


View all PubMed publications of Mary Jane Ferraro, PhD

  1. Branda JA, Ferraro MJ, Garner C, Markham R, Rychert JA.  Performance of the VITEK MS v2.0 system in distinguishing Streptococcus pneumoniae from non-pneumococcal species of the Streptococcus mitis group.  J Clin Microbiol.  2013;51:3079-3082.
  2. Siedner MJ, Galar A, Buzman-Suarez BB, Kubiak DW, Baghdadi N, Ferraro MJ, Hooper DC, O’Brien TF, Marty FM. Cefepime versus other antibacterial agents for the treatment of Enterobacter species bacteremia. Clin Infect Dis. 2014;58:1154-63.
  3. Rychert J, Creely D, Mayo-Smith LM, Calderwood SB, Ivers LC, Ryan ET, Boncy J, Qadri F, Ahmed D, Ferraro MJ, Harris JB.  Evaluation of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry for identification of Vibrio cholerae. J Clin Microbiol. 2015 Jan;53(1):329-31.
  4. Limbago BM, Pierce VM, Lonsway DR, Ferraro MJ.  Elevated Staphylococcus ceftriaxone MICs are an Etest artifact.  Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Jan 1;60(1):162-3.
  5. Harrington SM, Buchan BW, Doern C, Fader R, Ferraro MJ, Pillai DR, Rychert J, Doyle L, Lainesse A, Karchmer T, Mortensen JE.  Multi-center evaluation of the BD MAX™ Enteric Bacterial Panel PCR assay for the rapid detection of Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Campylobacter spp. (C. jejuni and C. coli), and Shiga toxin 1 and 2 genes. J Clin Microbiol. 2015 May;53(5):1639-47.


Microbiology Laboratory
Gray/Bigelow Building, 5th Floor 
Mailstop: GRB 526
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-3612
Fax: 617-726-5957

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