Exploring the Genetic Basis of Aspergillus Fumigatus Infection in Respiratory Diseases
Floor Location : S 056 H
Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) is a filamentous, saprotrophic, ubiquitous fungal pathogen which plays an important role in recycling environmental carbon and nitrogen and is widely distributed in nature through the release of asexually produced conidia, also known as conidiophores. Consequently, humans inhale more than one hundred conidiospores (spores) of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) every day. In healthy individuals, these are effectively cleared from the lung; however, in some individuals with immune defects, exposure of airway cells to these spores can result in a variety of diseases. Upon bioinformatic analysis of single-cell sequencing data of various human cells with Aspergillus Fumigatus by Tebbutt et al., several genes were found to carry high significance (in their adj p-values) within Infected cells, but low significance within others. Hence, this project aims to identify the role that these genes play in A. fumigatus infection in hopes of discovering promising gene pathways to combat A. fumigatus. I hypothesize that when measured through RT-qPCR in cultured epithelial cells, these genes will exhibit a high expression. The overall design of this project involves two major stages: the development of a cell culture model that closely mimics the structure of the cells in the airway and the assessment of the molecular response of these cells.