Dr Ana Traven
Senior Research Fellow
Tel: +61-3-9902 9219
Fax: +61-3-9905 3726
Rm 251, Level 2, Building 76 (STRIP 2)
MOLECULAR MECHANISMS OF FUNGAL PATHOGENESIS
Our work is focused on the yeast Candida albicans, normally a benign resident of the human microbiome, but also an opportunistic pathogen that can cause significant human infections. C. albicans is one of the most common fungal pathogens in human disease, responsible for mucosal infections, but also life-threatening disease in the most vulnerable patients, such as those in intensive care units (ICU) or people suffering from cancer. Mortality rates for systemic disease are high (40% or more). Therefore, new strategies for the treatment and prevention of Candida infections are urgently needed.
The projects in the lab aim to understand the regulatory mechanisms that enable C. albicans to subvert immune responses and resist antifungal therapy through metabolic and developmental adaptation. To uncover these mechanisms, we focus on Candida-macrophage interactions, biofilm formation and the roles of mitochondria in virulence and drug susceptibility. We are using an interdisciplinary approach to these questions, combining molecular genetics of C. albicans, with imaging, virulence studies in animal models of infection and the "omics" approaches of Systems Biology.
Opportunities to join the lab
We are looking for enthusiastic students and postdocs to join the lab. Projects are available in the areas of host-pathogen interactions and gene regulation. Please send a CV, names of two referees and a description of your research interests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Jiyoti Verma-Gaur (postdoc, ARC DECRA Fellow)
Jiyoti works on gene expression control in C. albicans.
• Timothy Tucey (postdoc; funded by NHMRC project grant)
Tim focuses on understanding how Candida evades innate immunity.
• Barbara Koch (postdoc, Austrian Erwin-Schroedinger Stipendium Fellow)
Barbara studies the roles of mitochondria and metabolic reprogramming in C. albicans virulence.
• Sanjiveeni Dhamgaye (postdoc Peleg-Traven labs; funded by NHMRC project grant)
Sanjiveeni is interested in mechanisms of microbial biofilm formation.
• Julie Nguyen (PhD student)
Julie's PhD project focuses on mitochondrial proteins in C. albicans, their cell biology and pathogenesis roles.
• Tricia Lo (Research assistant; funded by NHMRC project grant)
Tricia collaborates with various people in the lab on their projects.
• Joshua Nickson (Honours student)
Josh's Honours project focuses on the Candida-macrophage interaction.
NHMRC Project Grant (2016-2018): Traven A, Lithgow T: An investigation into mitochondrial dynamics in the human pathogen Candida albicans.
NHMRC Project Grant (2015-2017): Naderer T, Traven A: Fungal determinants and host cell death signals in fatal Candida infections.
NHMRC Project Grant (2014-2016): Peleg A, Traven A, Griesser H, Coad B: Mechanisms of interaction and therapeutic strategies for polymicrobial biofilms.
Croatian Government Unity Through Knowledge Fund, Crossing Borders Grant (2016-2017)
Traven A, Sopta M: Functional characterization of the fungal specific protein Taf14 in S. cerevisiae and C. albicans.
Dr. Thomas Naderer (Department of Biochemistry, Monash University)
Dr. Traude Beilharz (Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)
Gene regulation in model and pathogenic fungi
Prof. Anton Peleg (Department of Infectious Diseases, the Alfred Hospital and Monash University)
The worm disease model, polymicrobial Infections
Prof. Laurence Meagher (Faculty of Engineering and Monash Institute of Medical Engineering (MIME))
New antimicrobial compounds and antimicrobial surfaces
CSIRO Material Science and Engineering
New antifungal compounds and antimicrobial surfaces
• Nathalie Uwamahoro (PhD student; 2009-2014).
For her PhD, Nathalie worked on transcriptional regulation in Candida, addressing the roles of the Mediator complex in hyphal growth and host-pathogen interactions. In 2015, Nathalie took a postdoctoral position with Prof. Karl Kuchler, Medical University of Vienna.
• Yue Qu (postdoc; 2012-2015).
Yue worked on biofilm formation by C. albicans, including characterising a novel class of compounds with anti-biofilm activity. In July 2015, Yue took a postdoctoral position at the Alfred Hospital.
• Michael Dagley (postdoc; 2009-2010).
Michael worked on the roles of the Ccr4 deadenylase in C. albicans cell wall integrity. After leaving the lab, Michael undertook postdoctoral studies in Toronto Canada, and is now back in Australia, working as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Malcolm McConville, The University of Melbourne.
• Branka Jelicic (postdoc; 2011-2012; Australian Group of Eight Fellowship). Branka worked on the Mediator complex in C. albicans, and also collaborated on various other projects in the lab. Branka is now an Application Specialist at Biosistemi, Zagreb Croatia.
• Tara Quenault (PhD student; 2010-2013).
Tara's interest in the lab was the PUF family of RNA binding proteins in C. albicans. Tara is currently pursuing her passion for science as a science teacher at MacRobertson Girls' High School in Melbourne.
• Miguel Shingu-Vazquez (postdoc, 2013).
Miguel worked on mitochondrial functions in C. albicans. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Jamie Rossjohn, Monash University.
• Nisha Duggan (BCH3990 student, 2015)
Nisha ‘s 3990 project focused on the roles of mitochondrial activity in hyphal growth and antifungal susceptibility in C. albicans.
• June Deng (BCH3990 student and casual RA, 2015)
June worked on RNA binding proteins in C. albicans. In 2016, she will undertake a UROP project in the Pocock lab, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Monash University.
Traven lab 2015: Back: Yue Qu, Barbara Koch, Tim Tucey. Front: Tricia Lo, Jiyoti Verma-Gaur, Ana Traven and Julie Nguyen.
1. Qu Y*, Locock K, Verma-Gaur J, Hay ID, Meagher L, Traven A*# (2015) J Antimicrob Chemother. 2016 17: 413. *equal contribution
2. Verma-Gaur J, Qu Y, Harrison PF, Lo TL, Quenault T, Dagley MJ, Bellousoff M, Powell DR, Beilharz TH#, Traven A# (2015) Integration of Posttranscriptional Gene Networks into Metabolic Adaptation and Biofilm Maturation in Candida albicans. PLoS Genet 11: e1005590.
3. Rack JG, Morra R, Barkauskaite E, Kraehenbuehl R, Ariza A, Qu Y, Ortmayer M, Leidecker O, Cameron DR, Matic I, Peleg AY, Leys D, Traven A, Ahel I (2015) Identification of a Class of Protein ADP-Ribosylating Sirtuins in Microbial Pathogens. Mol Cell 59: 309-20.
4. Uwamahoro N, Verma-Gaur J, Shen HH, Qu Y, Lewis R, Lu J, Bambery K, Masters SL, Vince JE, Naderer T# & Traven A# (2014) The pathogen Candida albicans hijacks pyroptosis for escape from macrophages. MBio 5: e00003 (recommended by Faculty1000)
5. Traven A# & Naderer T# (2014) Microbial egress: a hitchhiker's guide to freedom. PLoS Pathog. 10: e1004201
6. Uwamahoro N, Qu Y, Jelicic N, Lo TL, Beaurepaire C, Bantun F, Quenault T, Boag PR, Ramm G, Callaghan J, Beilharz TH, Nantel A#, Peleg AY & Traven A# (2012) The functions of Mediator in Candida albicans support a role in shaping species-specific gene expression. PLoS Genet 8 (4): e1002613
7. Hewitt VL, Heinz E, Shingu-Vazquez M, Qu Y, Jelicic B, Lo TL, Beilharz TH, Dumsday G, Gabriel K, Traven A# & Lithgow T# (2012) A model system for mitochondrial biogenesis reveals evolutionary rewiring of protein import and membrane assembly pathways. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109: E3358
8. Quenault T, Lithgow T & Traven A# (2011) PUF proteins: repression, activation and mRNA localization. Trends Cell Biol 21: 104
9. Dagley MJ, Gentle IE, Beilharz TH, Pettolino FA, Djordjevic JT, Lo TL, Uwamahoro N, Rupasinghe T, Tull DL, McConville M, Beaurepaire C, Nantel A, Lithgow T, Mitchell AP & Traven A# (2011) Cell wall integrity is linked to mitochondria and phospholipid homeostasis in Candida albicans through the activity of the posttranscriptional regulator Ccr4-Pop2. Mol Microbiol 79: 968.
# indicates corresponding author(s)