Joseph J. Ferretti received a B.S. at Loyola University in Chicago (1960), a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Minnesota (1967) and did post-doctorate work at The Johns Hopkins University and attended the Cold Spring Harbor summer Bacterial Virus Course. He came to the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1969 as an assistant professor and within eight years attained the rank of professor. In 1983 he became Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology; in 1993 he became the Vice President for Research, and in 1995 was chosen to be Senior Vice President and Provost of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Over the course of his career, he has authored on his specialties of streptococcal infections, antibiotic resistance, and genomics over 170 scientific papers and co-authored four books. He acquired an international reputation and has been a US National Academy of Sciences Visiting Scientist to the German Democratic Republic (1980), a Visiting Professor on sabbatical at the Institut Pasteur (Paris) in 1982 and obtained an honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia (1982). The honors to Dr. Ferretti have been numerous: he was inducted in 1983 into The Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars; in 1987 he became the George Lynn Cross Research Professor at OU; a Lecturer at the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Hygeine und Mikrobiologie Kongress, Aachen, Germany in 2001 and an Honorary Member of Akadamie gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften zu Erfurt, Germany in 2007. In 2011 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, and was a Guest Professor at the University of Ulm in 2016. For more than thirty years, Ferretti sponsored two summer programs for Native American students, Career Opportunities in the Health Sciences, and Headland Indian Health Careers, both of which proved to be highly successful with students entering health and science careers. For sixteen years he served as Senior Vice President and Provost of the OU Health Sciences Center, helping it obtain national and international recognition.
After 45 years of service, Dr. Ferretti officially retired from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 2014 and is presently an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He is currently the lead Editor on a book, “Streptococcus pyogenes; Basic Biology to Clinical Manifestations,” which is an open access electronic book presently available on the NIH, NCBI bookshelf. Dr. Ferretti is also a grant review consultant for numerous national, international, and local agencies. He volunteers at a local food pantry adjacent to the OUHSC campus, and in his spare time, enjoys following grandchildren activities, travel, photography, golf, and gardening.