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Genome dynamics of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans (GenomeDynamics)
Start date: Oct 1, 2012, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This CIG grant proposes will support the Integration of Professor Judith Berman, who is currently a Full Professor at the University of Minnesota, in the United States and who will move to a Full Professor position at Tel Aviv University. Professor Berman is a highly regarded research focusing on the biology of Candida albicans, an important fungal pathogen of humans. The work proposes to analyze the dynamic processes by which this fungal pathogen evolves resistance to currently used antifungal drugs. The two objectives are to: 1) to characterize the types of long-range changes that arise following exposure to an extreme stress (e.g., antifungal drug), including the mechanisms that give rise to them and the dynamics with which they appear and 2) to establish how specific genome changes affect the fitness/growth of individuals and the population either in the presence or in the absence of the drug. Subaims for objective 1 will include: developing and adapting tools for the analysis of genome structure, including detection of long-range events and visualization of ultra high resolution sequencing data; Constructing sophisticated genetic strains; Identifying growth conditions and genetic factors that affect the frequency of specific genome changes; identifying and characterizing rare isolates that undergo multiple genome changes; and following the dynamics of the evolution drug resistance. Subaims for objective 2 will include: optimizing assays measurement of fitness/growth of individuals and populations over time; and comparing the fitness/growth of strains that acquired different genome changes. These objectives and subaims will facilitate the integration of Prof. Berman into the European Community of Life Sciences through her interdisciplinary approach to analyzing genome changes and studying the dynamics of the mechanisms through which they arise.

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