Infectious Diseases


The major focus of our work in mycology is the study of fungal pathogenesis. For example, Candida spp. can carry several molecular mechanisms that induce resistance to many of the available antifungal agents, including the ability to form an impenetrable biofilm on medical devices.

Overall, Candida spp. are the fourth leading cause of nosocomial bloodstream infections, and mortality from candidemia is over 30 to 40 percent. A decade ago, the overall excess cost attributable to candidemia was estimated to be greater than $1 billion per year and more recent studies estimated that in the United States the annual cost for candidemia is greater than $2 billion per year.

We use molecular biology and surrogate invertebrate hosts to identify novel antifungal compounds and study basic, evolutionarily conserved aspects of fungal virulence and host response.

Taken in their totality, our results indicate that a common, fundamental set of molecular mechanisms is employed by fungal pathogens against a widely divergent array of metazoan hosts.

These investigations have identified novel virulence factors, cross kingdom pathogen-pathogen interactions, novel antifungal agents, and evolutionarily conserved traits that are involved in host virulence and immune responses during fungal infection.