Ph.D.: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Dartmouth Medical School
Fungal pathogenesis, fungal genetics, signal transduction, antifungal therapy
Fungi can cause devastating infections, including vision-threatening keratitis and life-threating pneumonia. We are interested in the fungal biology that underpins these infections, particularly with respect to the following questions: (1) what metabolic/physical stresses do fungi encounter in during ocular versus pulmonary infection, (2) what signaling pathways allow fungi to adapt to those stresses, and (3) can those pathways serve as targets for antifungal intervention? Along with our collaborators, we are taking several approaches to these ends with an emphasis on two common mold pathogens, Fusarium and Aspergillus. First, we are analyzing patient specimens obtained from large clinical trials to determine which fungal genotypes and phenotypes correlate with disease outcome. Second, we are using systems-wide techniques (transcriptomics, proteomics) to determine the fungal metabolic response during infection. We then use reverse genetics in the fungus, combined with in vitro or in vivo models of disease, to determine the contribution of specific genes towards fungal virulence. Our long-term aim is to develop novel antifungal therapies that will improve outcome in these underserved patients.