Erika Orner

SBMS Trainee: Erika Orner

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Graduate Advisor: Dr. Bettina Fries
Clinical Advisor:
Graduate Program: Molecular Genetics and Microbiology


As an undergraduate, I studied pathobiology and worked in a chemical engineering lab where I learned about designing and utilizing microfluidic devices for environmental research. As a graduate student, I continue to work with microfluidic devices but aim to design a device that will facilitate the assessment of aging and the life span of the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. In our lab, we have established that older fungal cells are more resistant to killing by drugs and immune cells and that they accumulate during infection. My research aims to characterize what happens to the aging process after fungal cells adapt to the host environment and how the adaptations to this environment affect a cell's age-dependent resilience to killing.