Welcome to the Vargas-Muñiz Lab
The Vargas-Muñiz Lab is interested in understanding the fundamental principles of fungal cell biology that impact fungal pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions. Our research program focuses primarily on how the cytoskeleton contributes to cell shape, with an emphasis on the septin cytoskeleton, and the involvement of fungal septins in cell wall integrity. The fungal cell wall is a key structure that provides the mechanical force needed for fungi to survive in different environments, enables host tissue invasion, and facilitates the differentiation of different cell types. Moreover, the fungal cell wall is the first point of contact between the fungal pathogen and its host. Since mammalian cells lack a cell wall and plant cell walls are fundamentally different in composition and organization, the fungal cell wall is also an attractive target for antifungal development. Additionally, our research program aims to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind how fungal morphologies change in reaction to stress utilizing marine fungi as our experimental model system.