Xu Lab Featured Research – Week 3

Here in the Xu Lab, we are also interested in the population genetics of fungal species that are ubiquitous in the environment and are often found all around the world! We investigate the origin, transmission patterns and epidemiology of important human fungal pathogens. Our research impacts public well-being and has the potential to help reduce infections.

Aspergillus Group

Students in the Xu Lab are investigating the molecular epidemiology of A. fumigatus isolates from all over the world! Currently, we use soil samples from New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, China, Cameroon, and Hamilton in order to analyze the resistance of A. fumigatus to antifungals and to study their genetic diversity. The outcome of this research is being used in developing effective management strategies against aspergillosis (infections of the respiratory tract).



On a daily basis, the average person inhales hundreds, maybe thousands, of Aspergillus spores!



Greg Korfanty (left) and Eta Ashu both work on A. fumigatus in the Xu Lab. Eta defended his PhD Research earlier this summer. Since then, Greg has been continuing the A. fumigatus research.

Candida Group

Very little is known about yeast diversity from soil samples in Africa and the Middle East. Research in the Xu lab is focuses on the factors that influence yeast species diversity in these two distinct regions.


Candida is a yeast pathogen that is very commonly found on our skin and in our mouths!

Aly El Sheika and Renad Aljohani head up the Candida research in the Xu lab. Aly is a visiting scholar from Egypt, and Renad an international MSc student from Saudi Arabia.

Recently, Aly developed a novel molecular diagnostic method for detecting and discriminating between different species of pathogenic Candida. This development allow researchers to rapidly differentiate between drug-resistant and drug-sensitive strains of the same species!



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