College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
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Mason Zhang


Office: MIC 202D

Office Phone: 562-985-4819



Research Interests: We are interested in roles of microbial cell surface structures in host-pathogen interactions. Our current studies focus on Candida albicans, an opportunistic yeast-like pathogen that can cause life-threatening infections in the immunocompromised patient.

One aspect of our research concerns adherence of Candida cells to human cells and tissues. We have identified a gene that codes for a Saccharomyces cerevisiae agglutinin-like protein. We are using molecular and genetic tools to alter the gene structure. Analysis of Candida mutants that have altered versions of the gene will help us understand functions of the agglutinin-like protein in Candida adherence and pathogenesis.

Another aspect of our research focuses on mechanisms of human antibody-mediated protection against Candida infections. We use a genetic engineering approach to develop recombinant human antibodies that recognize Candida cell-surface structures. We screen the recombinant antibodies for protective ones with an animal model of disseminated Candida infection and dissect antibody-mediated defense mechanisms with molecular, genetic, and cellular methods.

Students at various levels have been participating in our research.

*We are currently looking for a Research Assitant in our lab. Download the Position Description (PDF) ( Adobe Acrobat Reader™ required)