Erika Shor, Ph.D., is a Research Assistant Member at the Center for Discovery and Innovation.
Dr. Shor’s training is in yeast genetics and molecular biology, and she has a longstanding interest in the mechanisms regulating genome stability, particularly the relationship between stress responses and mutagenesis. Over the last several years, her work has focused on understanding the causes of genetic instability and emergence of drug resistance in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida glabrata. The incidence of C. glabrata infections has been rising for several decades, and in many parts of the world, including the United States and Europe, it is now the second most prevalent cause of bloodstream fungal infections. C. glabrata is also one of the few fungal pathogens that show appreciable levels or resistance to multiple classes of antifungal drugs, including echinocandins, which are the newest class of antifungals introduced into the clinic. Most alarmingly, multi-drug resistant C. glabrata infections are being increasingly identified, and such infections are extremely difficult to treat, with high rates of treatment failure and patient mortality.
While mechanisms of resistance to different antifungals – e.g. via mutation of the drug target or a transcription factor regulating drug efflux pumps – are fairly well understood, it is not clear why C. glabrata has a higher propensity to develop such mutations. It has also been documented that C. glabrata clinical isolates display high genetic variability, both in terms of single nucleotide polymorphisms and large chromosomal rearrangements. Dr. Shor’s work is based on the premise that C. glabrata is able to generate and tolerate high levels of genetic change, which leads to both high genetic variability and formation of drug resistant mutants. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms that drive genetic change in C. glabrata can lead to the identification of new treatments to slow down this process in patients undergoing treatment with antifungal drugs.
Shor E, Schuyler J, Perlin DS. A Novel, Drug Resistance-Independent, Fluorescence-Based Approach To Measure Mutation Rates in Microbial Pathogens. MBio 10(1) 2019 PMID: 30808701; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6391916.
Healey KR, Jimenez Ortigosa C, Shor E, Perlin DS. Genetic Drivers of Multidrug Resistance in Candida glabrata. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:1995. 2016 PMID: 28018323; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5156712.
Healey KR, Zhao Y, Perez WB, Lockhart SR, Sobel JD, Farmakiotis D, Kontoyiannis DP, Sanglard D, Taj-Aldeen SJ, Alexander BD, Jimenez-Ortigosa C, Shor E, Perlin DS. Prevalent mutator genotype identified in fungal pathogen Candida glabrata promotes multi-drug resistance. Nat Communications 7:11128 2016 PMID: 27020939; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5603725.
Shor E, Perlin DS. Coping with stress and the emergence of multidrug resistance in fungi. PLoS Pathogens 11(3):e1004668. 2015 doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004668. PMID: 25790300; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4366371.