The focus of research in the Andes Lab involves identification of strategies to combat antimicrobial (especially antifungal) drug resistance. Study approaches include defining the molecular basis for drug resistance, drug target identification and development, pharmacodynamic investigation, and clinical trial study of fungal diagnosis, resistance epidemiology, and therapy.
Fungal Biofilm Resistance: We are interested in the mechanisms underlying the resistance of Candida biofilms to antifungal drugs and the immune system. Studies in the laboratory have identified both a drug sequestering matrix material and the impact of the cell wall integrity pathway as important components for this important phenotype. Ongoing studies seek to define the molecular pathways that control these mechanisms.
In vivo Fungal Biofilms: We have developed several animal models to mimic the most common biofilm infections in humans. We continue to explore the use of these models to study biofilm pathogenesis, drug resistance, host immune response, and biofilm diagnosis. Current models include central venous catheter, denture, and indwelling urinary catheter.
Pharmacodynamics: We seek to understand the relationship between drug exposure and treatment efficacy and failure. Using a variety of in vivo infection models and modeling of antimicrobial pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics we define optimal dosing strategies to combat drug resistance therapeutic failures and resistance evolution.
Antimicrobial Drug Development: We utilize in vivo infection models and pharmacodynamic approaches to aid in the early development of lead antibacterial and antifungal compounds. We work closely with several drug discovery groups and biotechnology companies to identify promising molecules and define dosing strategies to bring these drugs to study in clinical trials.
Clinical Mycology and Epidemiology: Our clinical research program provides an opportunity for translation of our laboratory observations to patients. These studies range from fungal epidemiology, to diagnosis and treatment trials.