Michael Gustin headshot

WEBSITE(S)| https://biosciences.rice.edu/people/michael-gustin

Mentored presenters may have participated in these courses

BIOC 310

Student Project Titles List

Exploring Gene Product Significance in Pathogenesis of Candida Albicans

The Role of IFA genes in Candida albicans Pathogenesis

Role of fungal cell types of Candida albicans during infection of Danio rerio embryos

Conferring Thermotolerance upon Coral Symbionts through Genetic Transformation

Investigating the Possible Hypervirulence of the Candida albicans Head-to-Head Reporter Plasmid Used to Express Fluorescence

Research Areas

A fundamental problem in biology is how cells sense and respond to stimuli such as changes in pressure, osmolarity, or mechanical forces. Most of our research employs the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system for understanding the molecular mechanisms required for sensing and responding to changes in external osmolarity and other stresses. Genetic and biochemical analysis of mutants that fail to grow in high (or low) osmolarity media has allowed us to uncover two stress-activated signaling pathways, the hog and cell intensity pathways, respectively. Both of these pathways contain a unique map kinase cascade. We are currently investigating the mechanism of osmosensing and transcriptional regulation by these pathways plus their role in osmotic stress-induced cell cycle delay. A pathway similar to the yeast hog pathway is found in osteoblasts, mammalian cells not usually exposed to osmotic stress. We are therefore investigating the role of the hog pathway in responses of these cells to mechanical stress. In addition, my research group, in collaboration with Dr. Mikos (Bioengineering, Rice U.), is examining the function of the mammalian hog pathway in mediating activation of bone forming cells by mechanical stress.