Infectious disease

June 19, 2020

Our researchers are working to understand the biology underlying infectious diseases and the microbes and viruses behind them, using innovative genetic approaches and  new tools and methods.

Alexsia Richards is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Rudolf Jaenisch’s lab investigating how dangerous tropical viruses interact with the brain. We sat down with Richards to learn more about her and her experiences in and out of the lab.

Boryana Petrova is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Sebastian Lourido’s lab researching parasite metabolism. She has also worked in Whitehead Institute Member Terry Orr-Weaver’s lab. We sat down with her to learn a bit more about her and her experiences in the lab.

By identifying new compounds that selectively block mitochondrial respiration in pathogenic fungi, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potential antifungal mechanism that could enable combination therapy with fluconazole, one of today’s most commonly prescribed fungal infection treatments. Severe, invasive fungal infections have a mortality rate of 30-50% and cause an estimated 1.5 million deaths worldwide annually. Current antifungal therapies are hampered by the increasingly frequent emergence of drug resistance and negative interactions that often preclude combination use.