the neumann laboratory
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Principal Investigator:

photo of aaron k. neumann

Aaron K. Neumann, Ph.D.
I am privileged to have undertaken graduate studies in Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania under Dr. Larry Turka and postdoctoral research on the membrane organization of C-type lectins with Dr. Ken Jacobson at the University of North Carolina. My laboratory at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center is interested in innate immune recognition of fungal pathogens of the Candida genus, and our primary tools are quantitative fluorescence microscopic imaging paired with computational image bioinformatics approaches.

Current Lab Members:

Ushnik Ghosh
M.S. Student (BME)
To study the kinetics of β-Glucan – Dectin-1 interactions, my objective is to model the Candida albicans cell wall with engineered Self-Assembled Monolayers presenting β-Glucan as a ligand for immobilized Dectin-1 receptors. In order to reduce the experimental variables inherent in studying a biological system, a major challenge of our project will be to artificially model the cell wall of the Candida albicans. By engineering a simplified ex-vivo model of the Candida albicans cell wall, we can gain precise control of the composition and structure of the delicate embedded supramolecular assemblies that define the complex cell wall of Candida albicans.

Alan Buser
Undergraduate Researcher (Biology)
My research focuses on the downstream signaling events associated with β-glucan stimulation of Dectin-1a. I am working to understand novel pathways downstream of Decctin-1 activation by fungal glucans. Currently, we are also pursuing proteomic approaches to identify the Dectin-1 interactome in search of novel signaling interactions.

Akram Etemadi Amin
Ph.D. Student (P&A)
My research is about the nanoscopic membrane organization of Dectin-1 relative to lipids and accessory signaling molecules during activation by fungal glucans. I am interested in understanding the importance of nanoscale organization of Dectin-1 signaling complexes for function of this anti-fungal immunoreceptor. My technical approaches include live cell confocal and super resolution fluorescence microscopies augmented by computational molecular modeling that provides quantitative, testable predictions of Dectin-1 aggregation state as a function of glucan stimulation.

Rohan Choraghe
Ph.D. student (BME)
My research focusses on elucidating mechanisms behind recruitment of receptors at contact site between Candida species pathogens and dendritic cells. I am also examining the role of nanoscale mechanical forces in innate immune fungal recognition.

Rina Sylejmani
M.S. student (BME)
Phenylene ethynylenes are one member of a class of light-activated antimicrobials. My goal is to apply these compounds to Candida species to study their efficacy against signle cells and biofilms and the potential for development of antimicrobial resistance. In the future, I envision that this approach will lead to new ways to improve the care of wounds and mitigate risks of medical device contamination.

Eddy Anaya
Ph.D. Student (BSGP)
My research focuses on studying Dectin-1A and -1B receptor-ligand engagement with soluble β-glucans of varying size and quaternary structure. More specifically, my work focuses on the differences in membrane organization and Ca2+ signaling responses of these isoforms using various fluorescence microscopy techniques including fluorescence calcium signaling and super resolution imaging (dSTORM). This research will provide a mechanistic understanding on how Dectin-1 signal initiation generates an effective innate immune response against Candida.

Carmen Martinez
Ph.D. Student (BME) β-(1, 3)-glucan is a necessary structural element of Candida species pathogen cell walls. It is not well understood how glucan exposure is regulated and perhaps modulated in a population of yeast as they experience different environmental signals. My research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms concerning of heritable regulation of glucan exposure in Candida species.

Former Lab Members:

Allison Brimacombe
Zohreh Karimi
Matt Graus, Ph.D.
Jia Lin, Ph.D.
LynnMarie Jarratt (NMIMT, UPN)
Harry Pappas (NSME)
Yue (Phoeby) Zhang (BME)
Maruio Castellano (UPN)
Adrianna Grijalva (NM INBRE)
Jordan Gutierrez (NM INBRE)
Alexandra Haigh
Laura Ingersol, MS (BSGP)
Jason Joyner (UPN)
Alina Mitina (UPN)