José Vargas-Muñiz

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Jose Vargas-Muniz_MGM GRAD 2012MGM Graduate Student (2012)
427 Jones Building
Box 3499 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
Phone: 919-681-2613
Fax: 919-668-4859

Research interests: Molecular Mycology, including topics such as: host-pathogen interaction, antifungal resistance and antifungal development.

My research interests focus on fungal infectious diseases and how we can take advantage of the molecular aspects of the microorganism to create new drugs treatments. I attended the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, obtaining a B.S. in Industrial Biotechnology, which provided me a broad training in chemistry, biology and engineering. During my undergrad, I had the opportunity to engaged in research under the guidance of Dr. Carlos Rios-Velazquez at the Microbial Biotechnology and Bio-prospecting lab. My main project consisted in isolating a fungal bio-prospect capable of degrading 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and used it as carbon source. Also, I characterized a fungus that was susceptible to a possible novel antifungal substances secreted by an actinomyces. From these experiences I had working in Dr. Rios-Velazquez’s lab, I fell in love with molecular mycology and the infinite biotechnological possibilities that are still to be discovered in the fungal kingdom.

Now at Duke, I decided to pursue my passion for molecular mycology and further understand the mechanisms of human pathogenesis in fungal related diseases. For that reason, I decided to join Dr. Bill Steinbach’s lab, which focuses on the human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. At the Steinbach lab, I am trying to understand how A. fumigatus septum develops, septins are regulated, and septum contributes to pathogenesis.

Besides lab and the academic environment, I enjoy spending my time playing soccer or volleyball. I also enjoy photography, listening to music, writing short stories and reading not-science related books.