Dr Stephanie Diezmann
Each year, the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans kills as many individuals as MRSA. We utilize caterpillars of the Tobacco Hornworm as model hosts for the study of C. albicans and other pathogenic yeasts. When infected with yeasts, caterpillars stop feeding, loose weight and eventually succumb while Candida establishes a persistent infection in the caterpillars' guts. The system allows us to test many different yeast strains and possible drug treatments without the ethical and financial burden of vertebrate models.