Malcolm Casadaban (Malcolm Casadaban)

Malcolm Casadaban

Malcolm Casadaban (12 August 1949 – 13 September 2009) was Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology and of Microbiology at the University of Chicago. Casadaban died following an accidental laboratory exposure to an attenuated strain of Yersinia pestis, a bacterium that causes the plague.  According to a CDC report on the incident, the strain that killed Casadaban (KIM D27) had never been known to infect laboratory workers as it was an “attenuated” or weakened strain that had defective genes for iron uptake. On autopsy, Casadaban was found to have undiagnosed hereditary hemochromatosis (iron overload) which likely played a role in his death.

After receiving degrees at MIT and Harvard University, he became Assistant Professor at Chicago in 1980, and Associate Professor in 1985.  He had also been associated with Thermogen, a company he formed with two of his former graduate students in 1998, to commercialize his work with thermophilic bacteria. The company expanded to an annual revenue of about $2 million, but was sold to MediChem, in 2000; this company in turn was later purchased by DeCODE Genetics.  He had 10 scientific publications cited over 100 times.


  • August, 12, 1949
  • USA
  • New Orleans, Louisiana


  • September, 13, 2009
  • USA
  • Chicago, Illinois

Cause of Death

  • plague

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