A better understanding of the genetic underpinnings of fungal biology could help shed light on drug resistance. This work has been hindered by the genetic limitations associated with working with this group of microbes, but new, cutting-edge genomic technologies are revolutionizing our ability to perform targeted genome editing in these micro-organisms.
As Canada Research Chair in Microbial Functional Genomics and Synthetic Biology, Dr. Rebecca Shapiro
is developing new biotechnologies to establish large-scale genetic libraries to better understand Candida albicans (common yeast, a prevalent fungal pathogen). She and her research team are using a novel CRISPR interference (CRISPRi)-based genetic repression system to analyze drug resistance in C. albicans. This will help them to identify important genetic modulators of drug resistance and will support the use of CRISPRi technology as a genome-wide functional genomic screening platform for antifungal drug sensitivity. They are also developing and improving a CRISPR activation-based genetic over-expression system and a targeted CRISPR-based editor system for diverse genetic applications in fungal species.