Graduate Student Directory

Blake Billmyre
Graduate Student

320 CARL Building
Box 3546 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710


Phone: 919.684.3036
Fax: 919.684.5458

Blake Billmyre

I am a second year graduate student from the Cell and Molecular Biology program. After my undergraduate work at the University of Maryland, I spent a year as a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Cancer Institute. I am currently a rotation student in the Heitman lab.

Fungal pathogens typically cause disease in immunocompromised patients. This includes AIDS and cancer patients as well as anyone undergoing immunosuppressive therapy. A notable exception to this general principle is the recent emergence of a new type of the normally opportunistic pathogen Cryptococcus gattii which can cause disease in otherwise healthy people. This pathogen emerged in the Pacific Northwest area and has been designated VG-II. Pathogenesis of health people appears to have recently arisen in the VG-II type as this behavior is not seen in the VG-I strain. My work will explore some of the differences between the VG-I strains and VG-II strains revealed by genomic sequencing of each strain.

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