Finkel, Jonathan

Research Project: Determining the Mechanisms of Adherence and Biofilm Formation in the Pathogenic Fungi Candida albicans
Description: Worldwide there are ~1 billion fungal infections per year, with Candida albicans as the primary fungal infection isolated in the clinical setting. Taken together the annual cost of antifungal therapies in the United States is estimated at $2.6 billion. Of great concern is the lack of diversity of antifungals. C. albicans is a commensal fungus that resides on mucosal surfaces of humans, where it is benign for most of the time. Infection occurs if immune function is impaired or if an environmental niche becomes available. Many C. albicans infections arise because of its ability to grow as a biofilm. Our current research aim is to screen a mutant library of cell wall genes to identify targets that regulate adherence and biofilm formation. We will use an adherence assay to screen a large number of genes in a short amount time. The study of these unique regulation mechanisms holds the promise of identifying new pathways and mediators of adherence and biofilm formation. As C. albicans cell w