Duke University Medical Center
Faculty and Research

Heitman Lab Members

Sweta Patel

Unite de Mycologie Molecularie
Institute Pasteur
25-28, Rue du Docteur Roux
75724 Paris Cedex 15, France

Sweta Patel

I was an undergraduate student at Duke and graduated in May 2007 with a major in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Women's Studies. I began working in Dr. Heitman's lab in May 2005 under Dr. Xiaorong Lin. My research in the Heitman lab focused on how differences in ploidy are distributed across the global population, environmental stimuli for ploidy change, and the origins of diploidization in C. neoformans. After identification of diploids using flow cytometry, strains were characterized using PCR analysis, gel electrophoresis, mating and filamentation assays, and gene sequencing to determine their origins, genetic composition, and the configuration of their mating type loci. We found that diploids occur at a significant frequency in the population regardless of geographical location. Because passage through a mammalian host did not influence changes in ploidy, we determined that it is probable that diploids originate in the environment. A study aimed at determining the origins of diploidization was initiated, as was an experiment to analyze the effect of ploidy on virulence in vivo and in vitro.

I am currently working in the lab of Dr. Francoise Dromer at the Institute Pasteur in Paris, France.


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