Asiya Gusa, PhD, has been selected to be a Whitehead Scholar for the next five years. The Whitehead family established a fund at Duke to support new assistant professors and their research.
Dr. Gusa will begin as Assistant Professor in MGM on May 1st, after concluding her postdoctoral training with Dr. Sue Jinks-Robertson.
Dr. Gusa’s field of study is microbial pathogenesis and fungal disease. Currently, she is investigating stress adaptation in species of Cryptococcus which are environmental fungi that can cause human disease. Cryptococcus are inhaled into the lungs as spores or yeast; a pulmonary infection that takes root may spread to the brain, resulting in a lethal cryptococcal meningitis. Infections primarily affect HIV-infected individuals and others with weakened or suppressed immune systems. She studies the movement of transposons (mobile genetic elements) in the genomes of Cryptococcus during infection and in response to heat stress to determine the impact of these genetic changes on virulence and disease persistence.