December 16, 2019

Thomas J. C. Sauters (Duke University)

Experimental evolution of Cryptococcus in response to anthropogenic environmental change

Fall 2019 Graduate Student Award in Pathogenic and Commensal Organisms

Human environmental impact is increasingly affecting the planet. Elevated environmental temperatures impact many organisms, and changing agricultural practices are shifting the ecological balance. Microbes adapt particularly rapidly to novel environments, evolving hardier and more resistant lineages. This study will use experimental evolution under heat stress and in the presence of agricultural antifungal drugs to identify mutations in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus that facilitate adaptation in these novel environments. It will also characterize both direct and indirect effects of selection.