Candida albicans and Candida parapsilosis form biofilms in human hosts that are resistant to antifungal therapy. These fungi are the major contributors of invasive candidiasis, the principal cause of mycosis-associated mortality in the United States. One signature feature of all biofilms is an extracellular matrix material that may function in adhesion, cohesion, and environmental protection. My goal is to define Candida matrix function through analysis of newly created strains with altered matrix levels. My long-term objective is to understand the environmental control of biofilm behavior and thus provide avenues for development and assay of effective therapeutic strategies. Since infection can occur in many different locations in the body, it is important to understand how biofilms may adapt to these differing environments. It may be that the differing nutrient levels in these environments, result in biofilm compositions that best match the conditions found. If this is the case, then understanding how biofilm formation is affected by differing nutrient environments would aid in developing specific drug targets for specific areas of infection, thus allowing for a higher chance of successful eradication.
My research will study the formation of biofilms. Biofilm formation has a major impact on human health as the underling cause of medical device-associated infection, which causes systemic infections that often prove fatal. In addition, our study focuses on C. albicans and C. parapsilosis, which are the major contributors of invasive candidiasis, the principal cause of mycosis-associated mortality in the United States.
|Finkel, Jonathan S; Xu, Wenjie; Huang, David et al. (2012) Portrait of Candida albicans adherence regulators. PLoS Pathog 8:e1002525|
|Finkel, Jonathan S; Mitchell, Aaron P (2011) Genetic control of Candida albicans biofilm development. Nat Rev Microbiol 9:109-18|