My laboratory studies mucormycosis, an emerging fungal infection that poses serious threats to public health. In particular, one of the goals of my research is to elucidate the interactions between hosts and human pathogenic Mucoralean fungi, which will subsequently contribute to the development of therapeutic options. My research takes advantage of the Mucor dimorphism as a tool to elucidate fungal pathogenesis and host responses against this life-threatening fungal infection. Mucor is a dimorphic fungus and the different morphogenic stages (spores/hyphae vs. yeast) result in different host-pathogen interactions. The key question is: what difference(s) between spores and yeast makes hosts respond differently? Our goal is to identify key virulence factors conserved in mucormycosis fungi, which enable the fungi to escape innate immunity.
Another goal is to define the roles of the enteric mycobiota (fungi in the GI tract) in eating disorders. This could provide information for better understanding of the etiology and novel factors associated with eating disorders, which would facilitate the development of innovation and improved treatment options.