First Advisor

Dr. Ian Cleary and Dr. Derek Thomas


Life Sciences


Schroeder Fellow




The fungus Candida albicans is one of the most common nosocomial infections in the US, and biofilms play a significant role in the microbe's ability to cause disease. Spaceflight alters gene expression in the opportunistic pathogen C. albicans in ways that may enhance biofilm formation and thus increase its pathogenicity. Based on a published transcriptional analysis from space flight, we explored strains that contain overexpression constructs for genes that have this altered expression in an attempt to learn more about their functions and their role in biofilm formation. We conducted real-time PCR on these strains and quantified the expression of known adhesins compared to a wild-type strain to explore what was causing biofilm enhancement. We also attempted to isolate the proteins produced by these genes through immunoprecipitation and western blotting so mass spectroscopy and further analysis could be done.