In the Xu Lab, many students are interested in health-related research. One of our main focuses is on fungal diseases that can cause deadly infections when transmitted to humans. Some of the species we work with are opportunistic pathogens, and can cause infections in immunocompromised people!
One such species is the pathogenic yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, which is notorious for causing fatal meningitis in patients with HIV/AIDS. A group of grad students in the Xu Lab study how the maintenance of certain “virulence factors” might affect the ability of C. neoformans to infect humans and other mammals. We are surveying Cryptococcus populations from all around the world (USA, Australia, Brazil, Europe,Asia) using a combination of genotypic and phenotypic techniques.