I’m a research scientist with a deep interest in understanding infectious diseases for the purpose of developing better drugs and vaccines. I focus on fungal pathogens, although I’ve also spent some time working with parasitologists on Malaria and have dabbled in virology with Blue Tongue Virus. Currently, I work with the Aberdeen Fungal Group at the University of Aberdeen studying the fungal pathogen Candida albicans in the laboratory of Professor Alistair Brown. We’re working to understand how Candida albicans and its relatives cause disease, with the aim of identifying drug targets for more effective treatments. I earned my Ph.D. in Genetics at Duke University in the United States in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Alspaugh. There, I studied another important fungal pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans.

In each of these pursuits, it’s been clear that basic research plays a crucial role in propelling medical research forward. In a black and white world of knowns and unknowns, science pushes into the realm of unknown unknowns. Whenever scientists encounter something new, the first thing we do is turn to the literature to see what others have to say about it or about things that are similar. The explosion in research made possible by public investment through the NIH and other federal initiatives has meant that we now have a vast pool of information from which to draw, and recent leaps in technology have allowed that pool to grow at an ever increasing rate. The purpose of this blog is to address two important aspects of this process:

First: To explain research that is done with public funds in a way that a non-scientist can understand and finds engaging. To this end, I hope readers who enjoy this blog and find it informative will also feel like they can ask questions about aspects they find interesting or confusing. I’ll do my best to point readers to relevant information or to address topics in future posts.

Second: To emphasize the huge contribution that basic research has made to medically important discoveries and to convey just how essential that research is to innovation and progress. Even though we may not see the immediate relevance of something, in many cases those discoveries have led to profound insights or major advances that have direct impacts on our lives and our health. This blog will focus on discoveries in fungal research that have helped drive our understanding of human health, as well as discoveries in other areas that have contributed to understanding fungal pathogenesis.

The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent the views of any institution or funding agency.

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