Assistant Professor
Division of Infectious Diseases

Project title:
Identification of novel virulence factors on multi-drug resistant Candida auris for vaccine development strategies

Dr. Ashraf Ibrahim, PhD, Lundquist Institute, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Scott Filler, MD, Lundquist Institute, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
John E. Edwards Jr., MD, Lundquist Institute, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Bruce Klein, MD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Infection and immunity, Molecular pathogenesis, Antigen discovery, Vaccine and immunotherapy development, In vivo infection models,

Project Description:
Discovered only about a decade ago, Candida auris has quickly emerged as a global health concern. C. auris can withstand extreme environmental conditions, persist on human skin, and thrive on inanimate objects found in healthcare-settings, thereby frequently causing healthcare-associated infections in immunocompromised, hospitalized patients. Patients harboring indwelling medical devices such as central venous catheters, cardiac stents, shunts, or urinary catheters are at a higher risk of infection since C. auris can form multidrug-resistant (MDR) biofilms on these devices. Due to these reasons, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention has identified C. auris as one of the “Urgent Threat” pathogens in its 2019 Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report. Therefore, to combat C. auris infections alternative therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Ironically, hardly anything is known about the virulence traits of C. auris and their potential as therapeutic targets. We will use cutting edge proteomics and bioinformatics approach to identify novel C. auris surface proteins and study their role in virulence. Finally, we will develop selected antigens as vaccine candidates against C. auris infection using advanced mRNA-based vaccine technologies.