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Analysis of Drug Resistance Mechanisms in Pathogenic Fungi

    DEAN - Theodore White

    Contact Detail
    Theodore White


    The White lab works on understanding the interactions of medically important fungi with the antifungal drugs that are used to treat these infections. Those fungi, which commonly infect immune-compromised individuals, include Candida albicans and related yeast species, a yeast that causes vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush and blood stream fungal infections; Aspergillus fumigatus, a mold that causes lung and blood stream infections, and Cryptococcus neoformans, a yeast that causes lung and brain infections. In the past, the White lab has identified point mutations in the target enzyme, overexpression of the target enzymne, and overexpression of efflux pumps as mechanisms by which fungi becomse resistant to drugs. Current projects focus on (a) characterizing A. fumigatus efflux pumps expressed in the model yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae; (b) understanding the S. cerevisiae ergosterol biosynthetic pathway that is the target of many antifungal drugs; (c) understanding how azole antifungals enter and leave the fungal cell; and (d) understanding how different growth media can alter the susceptibility of yeast cells to antifungal drugs. Research in the White lab would start with a discussion of the expertise and interests of the student, and might include the following: (1) using microbiological techniques to determine the level of drug susceptibility in strains of fungi; (2) monitoring gene expression to determine the genes that are expressed under specific conditions; (3) using transformation to delete or overexpress genes and monitoring the effect of the altered expression on susceptibility; (4) using biochemical techniques to determine the mechanism(s) by which drugs enter and leave the cell; and (5) combining techniques to study the ergosterol biochemical pathway that is the target of the antifungal drugs.

    Spencer Chemistry Building, Volker Campus

    Completed course work in Biol108/109

    Project Timeline
    At least three semesters

    Logistics and Compensation
    No stipend,

    Work with other lab members, learn basic techniques, use those techniques in your own project

    Last Updated
    Aug 30, 2018

Now that UR-Linked has helped you to identify a faculty project that interests you and for which you might be qualified, be sure to review the essential steps in contacting a potential faculty mentor.

The Director of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Jane Greer., can provide you with further guidance about finding and connecting with faculty mentors at UMKC.

Once you have reviewed the essential steps to prepare for connecting with a potential faculty mentor, you can use the "Contact Details" for this project to connect with the faculty member and to begin a conversation about how you might get involved.