Lurie Cancer Center Member
Heather W Pinkett, PhD
Assistant Professor, Molecular Biosciences; Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Cancer and Physical Sciences
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The resistance of fungi to antifungal drugs causes significant morbidity and mortality in humans, particularly in the immunocompromised. An important mechanism causing multidrug resistance (MDR) is the overexpression of membrane bound ABC transporters, which in turn transport antifungal drugs out of the cell. This research seeks to understand ABC transporter selectivity and regulation, which will enable biomedical researchers to (1) develop new superior antibiotics, and (2) open the way to novel drug candidates that have been impractical—if not impossible—to produce in the absence of high-resolution structures of ABC transporters. This information is not only paramount to fighting fungal infections, it also applies to MDR in higher organisms, since yeast recognize the same chemotoxins, xenobiotics, and antibiotics as mammalian cells.