Chemogenomics of antifungal drugs

Candida albicans is an important pathogen that is a significant cause of serious hospital acquired infections. Our lab has a collection of approximately 1000 C. albicans strains that have been genetically engineered to each lack a single gene. The project will be to test the effect of drugs that are used to treat fungal infections on each of the mutant strains – to determine if the mutation causes the pathogen to become more sensitive or more resistant to the drug. Mutations that cause the C. albicans cells to become hypersensitive to the drug can define possible targets for new drugs that would improve the effectiveness of current drugs. Mutations that cause the cells to become resistant to the drug can identify future sources of drug resistant strains that can become serious health problems by making our current antifungal drugs ineffective. The student will use liquid handling robots to combine these approximately 1000 strains with specific drugs or chemicals, and monitor, through the use of robotic growth culturing techniques, the impact of these drugs or chemicals on the growth of the mutant strains. This will allow the student to identify those genes that cause either hyper-sensitivity or resistance to the drug or chemical being studied. The relationships among the genes that increase or decrease sensitivity to the drugs will be investigated through the use of computer databases. Overall, this project will provide the student with experience in specific aspects of pharmaceutical drug discovery, and in the technical manipulation of large collections of microbial strains though the aid of robotics.

Faculty Supervisor:

Malcolm Whiteway


Aashima Goyal



Engineering - chemical / biological



Concordia University



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