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Dr. Balajee is a graduate of the University of Madras (India) and completed her post doctoral training in Dr. Kieren Marr’s laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, US. Currently she leads the Molecular Epidemiology Unit within the Mycotic Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Balajee’s dynamic research program is focused on public health mycology that includes studies on the molecular epidemiology of medically important fungi, specifically the genus Aspergillus. Another area of interest is understanding the role of mycotoxins, specifically aflatoxin elaborated by Aspergillus in mediating adverse health effects in humans. Dr. Balajee has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles and several book chapters and is committed to creating a learning environment for budding public health mycologists in her laboratory. Dr. Balajee is the convenor for an international working group on A. terreus to gather and disseminate scientific knowledge in this field and is a member of the working group on species concepts inAspergillus.
Key Contributions to recent literature:
Arun Balajee Ph.D.
Email [email protected]
Phone - 404 639 3337
My research focus lies in genetically dissecting those aspects of Aspergillus spp. that render them potent pathogens and superb natural product machines. My laboratory’s research includes elucidation of fungal sporulation and host/pathogen interactions; processes intimately linked to secondary metabolite (e.g. mycotoxin) production. My tactic has been to use the genetic model Aspergillus nidulans to elucidate important biological processes in this genus and then carry this information to the plant pathogens A. flavus and A. parasiticus and the human pathogen A. fumigatus. The former two pathogens contaminate seed crops worldwide with aflatoxin, the most potent naturally occurring carcinogen known. The latter pathogen is now tied with Candida as the most serious human mycopathogen in developed countries where it can cause invasive aspergillosis, a disease with a mortality rate ranging from 50 to 90%.
Areas of fungal biology that my lab has been central in developing include:
I. Genetic Regulation of Secondary Metabolism and the Role of Toxic Metabolites in Fungal Virulence.
II. Gene silencing processes.
III. Host/fungal signaling.