Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Patrice Bouyer


Arts and Sciences


Biological Research

ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-1-2020



Candida albicans (C. albicans), an opportunistic pathogen, lives symbiotically within the intestine of its human host. Temperature and chemical factors have been shown to induce a morphological change in C. albicans from yeast to filamentous form turning C. albicans pathogenic. In this study, we investigated the intestinal cues that might be responsible for the change. We found that different solid media impact the morphological phenotype so we focused on characterizing these before further testing. We tested Estradiol (E2) because of its known linkage to sepsis and higher levels during infections. Experiments were conducted to compare solid agar plates of YEPD, Minimal Media (MM), and Spider Media (SP) for C. albicans growth to choose the best one for further testing with E2 and other factors that could be prone to causing morphological changes.


C. albicans was inoculated through streak method on different solid media (YEPD, MM, SP) and incubated at 30℃. The effect of 0.1nM E2 on C. albicans morphology was also tested. Morphological changes were assayed through bright-field microscopy.


Using the three different medias, we found three distinctive phenotypes: A, B, and C. Out of 6 experiments of 14 MM plates, the expressed phenotype was 86% A and 14% inconclusive of the time. 8 experiments of 17 SP plates showed 100% of phenotype B. 6 experiments of 14 YEPD plates presented phenotype C 92% of the time and 8% inconclusive. For E2 trials, 2 experiments, 6 MM plates showed 50% phenotype A and 50% inconclusive. 4 experiments, 10 SP plates had phenotype B 100%. YEPD 2 experiments, 2 plates had phenotype C at 100%.


We have established experimental conditions of media controls for further testing whether E2 and other cues, such as inflammatory cytokines, have inhibitory or positive effects on the growth of C. albicans.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Idalia Z. Zachara is a second year student in the five year Health Science, Physician Assistant Program. She has been working in Dr. Bouyer's research lab since her freshman year. She is passionate about medicine and healthcare and enjoys researching pathogens such as C. albicans in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of their roles in the health of all individuals.

Paige M. Camp is a second year biology major at VU. She has taken two years at Ivy Tech Valparaiso Community School. This is also her second year in Dr. Bouyer's lab. The current research project is great foundation for realizing her aspirations of going into the fields epidemiology and medical microbiology.

Abstract 2020.pdf (76 kB)