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Genetics and Biochemistry Profiles

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Lukasz Kozubowski

Genetics and Biochemistry

Associate Professor

Life Sciences Building 255A [Office]
Life Sciences Building 260D [Lab]


Educational Background

Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, 2004
MS, Pharmacy, Medical University of Warsaw, 1996

Research Interests

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.

We 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.

Courses Taught

Introduction to Genetics - GEN3020/3020H

Molecular Genetics Lab - GEN3030

Directed Research - GEN4910

Senior Seminar - GEN4930; BCHM4930

Principles of Molecular Biology - GEN8100

Study Abroad Summer Program: General Microbiology MICR3050/51; International Studies IS2100

Selected Publications

1. Stempinski PR, Zielinski JM, Dbouk NH, Huey ES, McCormack EC, Rubin AM, Chandrasekaran S, Kozubowski L. Genetic contribution to high temperature tolerance in Cryptococcus neoformans. Genetics. 2021 Mar 3;217(1):1-15. doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyaa009. PMID: 33683363.

2. Martinez Barrera S, Byrum S, Mackintosh SG, Kozubowski L. Registered report protocol: Quantitative analysis of septin Cdc10-associated proteome in Cryptococcus neoformans. PLoS One. 2020 Dec 14;15(12):e0242381. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242381. PMID: 33315917; PMCID: PMC7735571.

3. Dyl?g M, Leniak E, Gnat S, Szepietowski JC, Kozubowski L. A case of anti- pityriasis versicolor therapy that preserves healthy mycobiome. BMC Dermatol. 2020 Sep 29;20(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s12895-020-00106-x. PMID: 32993612; PMCID: PMC7526128.

4. Dyl?g M, Colon-Reyes RJ, Kozubowski L. Titan cell formation is unique to Cryptococcus species complex. Virulence. 2020 Jan 1;11(1):719-729. doi: 10.1080/21505594.2020.1772657. PMID: 32498590; PMCID: PMC7549989.

5. Peng CA, Kozubowski L, Marcotte WR Jr. Advances in Plant-Derived Scaffold Proteins. Front Plant Sci. 2020 Feb 25;11:122. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00122. PMID: 32161608; PMCID: PMC7052361.

6. Peng CA, Gaertner AAE, Henriquez SA, Fang D, Colon-Reyes RJ, Brumaghim JL, Kozubowski L, Fluconazole induces ROS in Cryptococcus neoformans and contributes to DNA damage in vitro, 2018, PLoS ONE, Dec7;13(12):e0208471

7. Altamirano S, Simmons C, Kozubowski L, Colony and Single Cell Level Analysis of the Heterogeneous Response of Cryptococcus neoformans to Fluconazole, 2018, Front Cell Infect Microbiol, Jun 19;8:203. doi: 10.3389

8. 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. 2018, Electrophoresis, Feb 21. doi: 10.1002/elps.201700428.

9. Chen Q, Li D, Zielinski J, Kozubowski L, Lin J, Wang M, Xuan X. Yeast cell fractionation by morphology in dilute ferrofluids, 2017, Biomicrofluidics, Nov 9;11(6):064102. doi: 10.1063/1.5006445.

10. 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, 2017 mSphere, Jun 14;2(3). pii: e00205-17. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00205-17.

11. Altamirano S., Chandrasekaran S., Kozubowski L, Mechanisms of Cytokinesis in Basidiomycetous Yeasts, 2017, Fungal Biology Reviews, 31, 73-87


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Publications (PubMed)