Laboratory of Fungal Pathogenesis
Candida albicans forms a dense biofilm composed
of yeast cells, hyphae, and extracellular matrix.
Images produced using scanning electron microscopy.
Our laboratory studies the molecular pathogenesis of invasive candidiasis and also investigates translational aspects of Candida infection, including mechanisms of biofilm formation, and echinocandin resistance. A major objective of our laboratory is to define the secretory pathways of secreted virulence proteins and determine if mutations in these pathways have an effect on biofilm formation and virulence in vivo. Our laboratory is currently studying loss-of-function mutations in several VPS (vacuole protein sorting) genes and their effects on aspartyl protease secretion, filamentation, biofilm formation, and in vivo virulence. This work is supported by a Department of Veterans Affairs MERIT award.
A second major focus of our laboratory is identification of novel secretory proteins in C. albicans and their role in virulence, using bioinformatic, genomic, and proteomic approaches. An additional goal is to identify novel markers of invasive candidiasis, as current diagnostic methods for invasive candidiasis remain sub-optimal. Our lab is also involved in translational research on novel antifungal therapies and treatment approaches against biofilm formation in Candida species, collaborative studies of echinocandin-resistance in clinical Candida isolates, and the molecular epidemiology of oral candidiasis.