My research focuses on the pathogenic yeast Candida glabrata which causes often fatal systemic blood stream infections in humans. In particular, I'm investigating how Candida glabrata survives stresses in the human environment. For example, when our blood cells encounter invading microorganisms in our blood certain immune cells will engulf the invading microorganisms and release toxic chemicals to kill them.
However, Candida glabrata is able to survive this and will replicate inside blood cells and go on to cause disease. To further understand how Candida glabrata survives stresses encountered in the human environment
I have designed a number of mutants which we have examined. We found that some mutants were able to survive stresses better than others and when we examine the DNA of the stress resistant mutants, we were then able to identify genes that are important for infection.
Once we've identified genes which are important for causing disease we can then go on to research these further and use them as potential targets for developing novel therapeutics to treat fungal disease.
Dr Lauren Ames works in Professor Ken Haynes's lab at the University of Exeter.