Tamara L. Doering, MD, PhD

Professor of Molecular Microbiology

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic fungus responsible for serious opportunistic infections in immunocompromised individuals. My lab studies unique aspects of cryptococcal biology that are of biological interest and may suggest targets for badly needed antifungal chemotherapy. The main virulence factor of C. neoformans is its extensive polysaccharide capsule, a unique protective structure that is required for virulence. We are taking several approaches to understanding capsule biosynthesis, and to investigating interactions of this pathogen with host cells.
In our studies we apply approaches and methodology drawn from biochemistry, genetics, and molecular and cell biology. We take advantage of sequence information, high throughput technology (microarray and robotics), sophisticated imaging, animal models, and methods we have developed for RNA interference in this organism. These approaches allow us to address the molecular mechanisms of capsule synthesis and cryptococcal pathogenesis.