Dr. Saville’s lab focuses on the genetic regulation of Candida albicans cell shape and determining how morphological changes impact the ability of the fungus to cause disease in both mucosal and disseminated infection models. C. albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen which is found as part of the normal microflora in the human digestive tract and is just one of approximately 200 species in the genus Candida. Dr. Saville’s primary research interest involves exploring the mechanisms via which this pathogenic fungus causes human disease. Candidiasis is one of the most frequent nosocomial infections both in the U.S. and worldwide.
Dr. Saville’s research investigates the genetic regulation of C. albicans hypha formation and seeks to develop methods of inhibiting this process as this has the potential to provide novel treatment options against these serious, and often life-threatening, infections. Research in his lab involves: 1) identifying genes which have altered expression as the fungus transitions from the commensal to the pathogenic state, 2) constructing modified strains of C. albicans which either lack these genes or inappropriately express them, and 3) testing their pathogenic potential in both disseminated and mucosal models of disease.