Genetics and Biochemistry Department
Office: LSF 255A
Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Louisiana State University Medical Center 2004
Medical University of Warsaw 1996
Introduction to Genetics - GEN3020/3020H
Molecular Genetics Lab - GEN 3030
Directed Research - GEN 4910
Senior Seminar - GEN 4930
Principles of Molecular Biology - GEN8100
Microbial pathogens utilize a variety of strategies to facilitate survival in the infected host. One of the most important mechanisms is the ability to respond to stress and adapt to an adverse host environment. Therefore, inhibiting stress response pathways constitutes a promising antimicrobial therapy.
I study a human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans to understand the mechanistic cellular processes used by pathogenic microorganisms to allow survival in the infected host. C. neoformans is a major opportunistic fungal pathogen worldwide and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in AIDS patients. In addition, the sibling species, Cryptococcus gattii is responsible for the recent outbreak of fungal-caused meningitis in the Pacific north-west of the U.S.
Our work with C. neoformans has led us to hypothesize that this pathogen has evolved unique pathways to control cell division in a manner that allows it to survive within a human host. Testing this hypothesis would provide insights into how eukaryotic pathogens adapt to the host environment and could potentially reveal new targets for therapeutic interventions. In addition, our research will lead to an improved understanding of the evolutionary events that have resulted in alternative mechanisms of mitosis. My research program has the following three main aims: 1. Explore molecular basis for stress-induced changes in ploidy in C. neoformans, 2. Explain the intriguing interconnection between cytokinesis, endocytosis, and stress response in C. neoformans, 3. Elucidate the function of septins, filament forming GTPases, in stress response and pathogenicity of C. neoformans.
1. Li D, Zielinski J, Kozubowski L, Xuan X. Continuous sheath-free separation of drug-treated human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans by morphology in biocompatible polymer solutions. Electrophoresis. 2018 Feb 21. doi: 10.1002/elps.201700428.
2. Chen Q, Li D, Zielinski J, Kozubowski L, Lin J, Wang M, Xuan X. Yeast cell fractionation by morphology in dilute ferrofluids. Biomicrofluidics. 2017 Nov 9;11(6):064102. doi: 10.1063/1.5006445.
3. Altamirano S, Fang D, Simmons C, Sridhar S, Wu P, Sanyal K, Kozubowski L. Fluconazole-Induced Ploidy Change in Cryptococcus neoformans Results from the Uncoupling of Cell Growth and Nuclear Division. mSphere. 2017 Jun 14;2(3). pii: e00205-17. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00205-17.
4. Altamirano S., Chandrasekaran S., Kozubowski L, Mechanisms of Cytokinesis in Basidiomycetous Yeasts, 2017, Fungal Biology Reviews, 31, 73-87
5. Esher SK, Ost KS, Kozubowski L, Yang DH, Kim MS, Bahn YS, Alspaugh JA, Nichols CB, Relative Contributions of Prenylation and Postprenylation Processing in Cryptococcus neoformans Pathogenesis, 2016, mSphere. Mar-Apr; 1(2)
6. Janbon G, et al., Analysis of the genome and transcriptome of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii reveals complex RNA expression and microevolution leading to virulence attenuation, 2014, PLoS Genet., Apr 17;10(4): 2014. (~50 co-authors from various institutions including Clemson)
7. Kozubowski L, Yadav V, Chatterjee G, Sridhar S, Yamaguchi M, Kawamoto S, Bose I, Heitman J, Sanyal K, Ordered Kinetochore Assembly in the Human-Pathogenic Basidiomycetous Yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, MBio. 2013 Oct 1;4(5)