May 30, 2018
Carol Kumamoto is a professor of microbiology at Tufts University. She studies Candida albicans, the most common fungal pathogen of humans.
C. albicans is a normal commensal of the human body, and it typically does not cause any harm to people, but rather lives happily among the other microbes e.g. within the intestine. However when the host becomes immunocompromised, C. albicans will invade tissues and cause a life-threatening infection.
Dr. Kumamoto talks about how C. albicans’ interactions with the other microbes within the body influences its virulence, the difficulty of developing antifungals that don’t harm people, how antivirulence strategies may identify new antifungals, and how she can’t imagine doing anything else besides being a scientist.
The MicroCase for listeners to solve is about Don Risiko, the bat-loving host of the cable TV show “Demons Within Us” who becomes sick after spelunking.