My research focuses on two broad aims:
Why study Fungal Pathogenesis?
Fungal pathogens are ubiquitous in the environment, but they usually do not post serious threats to people with a healthy immune system. However, fungal pathogens can cause life-threatening diseases in individuals with a compromised immune system. In recent years, the number of immuno-compromised individuals is escalating as chemotherapy, bone marrow-transplant and organ-transplant therapies are becoming common medical procedures. Prevention and treatment of fungal infections has become a major clinical challenge. The situation is exacerbated by the lack of effective anti-fungal therapies with fatality rates of certain fungal infections being as high as 100%. Therefore, understanding fungal pathogenesis has immense medical implications and will provide valuable information towards development of new effective and life-saving anti-fungal treatments.
Why study Transcription Regulation?
Transcription is an essential molecular process whereby stored biological information is retrieved from the genome of living organisms. Proper and precise control of transcription is of fundamental importance to biology. Defects in this process are linked to many human diseases including cancers. The molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in eukaryotic organisms are remarkably conserved from humans to fungi. In fact, much of our current knowledge of transcription regulation has come from fungal studies. Through studying transcription regulation in fungi, my research aims to provide important new information that is directly relevant to transcription regulatory mechanisms in humans.