Research in my lab focuses on polar growth in the model filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans and the pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. One major project in the lab is examining septins, novel cytoskeletal proteins, in A. nidulans. Work in other systems has shown that the septins function as scaffolds, organizing the division plane and other areas of new cell growth. Research in our lab has shown that there are 5 septins in A. nidulans and that one of those septins localizes to septa, forming branches and conidiophore layers. The filamentous localization of A. nidulans septins is especially exciting because it furnishes an experimentally tractable system to investigate the significance of the septin filaments previously only reported in animals.
The other major project in the lab is looking at gene expression and polar growth in A. fumigatus. A. fumigatus causes invasive aspergillosis, an often fatal disease of the immunocompromised. We are using microarrays and deep sequencing to study the genes that are expressed in the early growth of this fungus.