My research interests are focussed on understanding the pathogenicity of the most common life-threatening fungal agent Candida albicans in order to design better therapies to combat invasive fungal infections. I am particularly interested in the fungal wall as it is central to pathogen-host interactions and is an attractive target for novel therapies. Using a combination of transcript profiling and glycoproteomics my research group are studying the role and regulation of Candida albicans cell surface proteins, especially novel predicted GPI-anchored proteins. We are studying how the cell surface is remodelled in response to the environment including exposure to antifungal drugs and growth in vivo and the signalling pathways that govern cell wall remodelling. In collaborative projects with Prof Neil Gow we are investigating the molecular mechanisms that regulate fungal chitin biosynthesis and how activation of cell wall salvage pathways results in increased cell wall chitin, which leads to reduced susceptibility to the echinocandin antifungal drugs in vitro and in vivo.
In collaboration with Dr Christophe d'Enfert I am generating a Candida albicans ORFeome and over-expression libraries funded by a Wellcome Trust Biomedical Resources grant that will be released to the research community. My research has many strong translational aspects reflected by a joint Knowledge Transfer Partnership with NovaBiotics Ltd and Gilead Sciences funded studentships that are jointly supervised with Prof Neil Gow. I also manage an antifungal drug discovery programme funded by a University of Aberdeen Commercialisation Award.
Dr Mathias Richard, INRA, Grignon, France – Functional analysis of C. albicans GPI-proteins.
Dr Kevin Verstrepen, Katholieke University, Leuven, Belgium – Genome-wide tandem repeat analysis of Candida spp.
Dr Piet de Groot, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Cell wall proteomics.
Dr Christophe D'Enfert Pasteur Institute, France, - C. albicans ORFeome and over-expression library.
Antifungal peptide drugs. Knowledge Transfer Partnership with NovaBiotics Ltd 2010-2012
SULSA BioSkape industrial studentship with NovaBiotics Ltd 2010-2014
Antifungal drug screening programme. University of Aberdeen Commercialisation Award 2010
The role of fungal cell wall composition and remodelling in echinocandin drug tolerance and resistance. British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy research grant 2010
The Candida albicans ORFeome project .Wellcome Trust Biomedical Resources grant 2009-2013 (Lead PI with Dr d'Enfert, Institut Pasteur)
Gilead Sciences sponsored industrial studentships 2006-2010, 2009-2012 (with Professor Gow)
Regulation of the biosynthesis of the cell wall skeleton of Candida albicans. Wellcome Trust project grant 2009-2012 (Co-PI with Professor Gow and Odds)
Deputy Editor-In-Chief of FEMS Yeast Research.
Editor of Microbiology. Associate Editor of Fungal Genetics & Biology.
Chair of Advanced Lecture Course on Human Fungal Pathogens HFP2017.
Ad hoc reviewer for international journals: PLoS Pathogens, Molecular Microbiology, Journal Biological Chemistry, FEMS Microbiology Letters, Microbiology, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Medical Mycology, Mycoses, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Fungal Genetics and Biology, Eukaryotic Cell, Infection & Immunity, Yeast, Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions.
Postgraduate research coordinator for School of Medical Sciences, College of Life Sciences and Medicine Graduate School