Diana Rodriguez: Identifying novel and efficient targets for antifungals against biofilm formation of the fungus C. albicans
Agar plates with C. albicans colonies where ADE2 gene was deleted using CRISPR/cas9.
Rodriguez about to start her experiments for the day in the Nobile Lab.

Diana Rodriguez was awarded the UC MEXUS-CONACYT Doctoral Fellowship in 2016 and later received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2017. Rodriguez is a 4th year graduate student in the Quantitative and Systems Biology Program at UC Merced. She works under the guidance of Associate Professor Clarissa Nobile studying the transcriptional networks that regulate virulence in the opportunistic fungus Candida albicans.

C. albicans is the most commonly isolated fungus in clinical settings. It is known to cause serious infections, particularly in immunocompromised patients who have implanted medical devices. One way this fungus successfully infects its host is by forming biofilms, which are resilient, surface-associated communities of cells. Biofilms act as protective structures to fungus and a source of infection to the host. As current antifungal agents are highly inefficient at treating biofilm-based infections, Rodriguez’s research focuses on identifying novel and more efficient targets for antifungals against biofilm formation of the fungus C. albicans. Rodriguez is using in vitro and in vivo assays for the identification and characterization of biofilm target genes, some of which encode for enzymes that are putative novel therapeutic targets.

To contact Diana Rodriguez, please email her at drodriguez25@ucmerced.edu.

Rodriguez performing gene manipulation in C. albicans cells
Rodriguez analyzing biofilms from various C. albicans strains.