My week was highlighted by great chalk talks from every member of the BSURF program. I definitely learned a lot about various topics and projects. Further, these chalk talks spark my interest in new subjects and has gotten me talking about things I normally would have never even thought about! This week was a great lesson in the communication aspect of science and research: having to prepare a chalk talk, listen to presentations from others, and explore other topics through challenging question has certainly helped me to see the utmost importance communication and discussion has in research. Something to be noted is a question asked during my own chalk talk as given me a new idea in which to approach my project, something that might actually help move along my project objective.
That being said, a talk that particularly stood out was the one presentation by Simeon. Simeon gave a chalk talk on the study of essential genes involvement in cryptococcus neoform sexual reproduction expression.
He began with a bit of background information, presenting the case that cryptococcus is a fungi that can cause brain damage to those suffering immunodeficiencies. Cryptococcus is specifically hard to target and create successful drugs to combat it as through its sexual reproduction process different and various types of the cryptococcus fungi are formed and some of these will ultimately carry drug-tolerance. Therefore, going into his project, Simeon noted that he is targeting two essential genes involved in sexual reproduction. Using different constructs, the goal is to test three different approaches and see which conditions will ultimately repress sexual reproduction the most. Having more information on what successfully alters the reproduction expression within these fungi could build toward antifungal treatments in the future.
I found this presentation to be particularly interesting due to the way in which they approached this drug-tolerance issue. Approaching this issue from the perspective of altering sexual reproduction creates an opportunity to then create drugs to target specific types of cryptococcus to combat this fungus. Other studies focus on functional proteins within the fungi or creating drugs that will be undeterred by such tolerance, leaving this approach quite interesting. As this fungi issue is a big clinical problem around the world, this different approach could ultimately begin to lead toward a solution to this problem.
I am very much looking forward to see the information or conclusions gathered by this project and others at the end of the program!