Paul J Szaniszlo
The Szaniszlo Lab's research is primarily aimed at the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of fungal cell development, specifically that of the fungus, Wangiella dermatitidis (Wd). Wangiella is used as a model fungus used to identify cell-wall virulence factors among dematiaceous (melanized/black) fungal pathogen of humans. Specific emphasis is placed on the cell-wall because it is a boundary between host and pathogen, an ultimate determinant of morphology, known to represent a virulence factor, and is a potential target for the design of antifungal drugs. Particular focus is on the systems leading to chitin localizations in and melanin enrichments of cell walls in the polarized and nonpolarized vegetative phenotypes known to be expressed by this polymorphic fungus under conditions of human infection.