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Comparative and Functional Genomics of the Human Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

An outbreak on Vancouver Island, British Columbia of lung and central nervous system infections caused by Cryptococcus neoformans provided the incentive for this large scale genomics project.

Project Leaders Jim Kronstad
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Cryptococcus Neoformans Summary

Generally, these infections are limited to individuals with weakened immune systems but this outbreak involved a different variety of the fungus – gattii – that was able to attack immunocompetent people. Dr. Kronstad and colleagues have recently completed this project after meeting all of their research objectives. They successfully sequenced the genome of the gattii variety and are now comparing it to other varieties to determine why gattii causes disease in apparently healthy individuals. Due to the worldwide incidence of Cryptococcus infections, the project will have international impact. This thorough examination of these pathogens is providing valuable new knowledge that will contribute to the development of better ways to diagnose fungal infections and new antifungal therapies.