Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad
Rupinder Kaur has completed her Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and PhD with Dr Anand K Bachhawat at the Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh. After doing postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she returned to India and joined the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Hyderabad as a staff scientist. She has been awarded the Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award, National Women Bioscientist Award and Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance Senior Fellowship. Her current research is centred on the study of virulence traits and antifungal drug resistance mechanisms in the opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida glabrata. Rupinder Kaur was elected Fellow in 2019.
SESSION 1B: Inaugural Lectures by Fellows /Associates
E D Jemmis
An analysis of Candida glabrata–host interaction
Hospital-acquired fungal bloodstream infections (BSIs) pose a serious clinical challenge. Candida species are the leading cause of fungal BSIs with an average mortality rate of about 40%. Among Candida species, Candida glabrata accounts for upwards of 25% of total Candida BSIs. C. glabrata is a haploid budding yeast, which resides as a commensal in the normal human microflora. However, it also possesses the ability to disseminate and cause disease in several host organs in immuno-compromised individuals. Treatment of C. glabrata infections is particularly challenging as C. glabrata is intrinsically less susceptible to widely used azole antifungals and acquires resistance rapidly upon antifungal exposure. The speaker’s research is focussed on a better understanding of pathogenicity determinants of C. glabrata with special emphasis on antifungal drug resistance mechanisms and interaction with host immune cells. He has shown that C. glabrata survives and multiplies in murine and human macrophages by evading the host immune response and remodelling its own carbon metabolism and chromatin architecture. He has also uncovered essential iron homeostasis mechanisms that help C. glabrata establish itself as a successful pathogen. These findings along with the novel determinants of antifungal tolerance in C. glabrata will be presented.