Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics Faculty
Brian L. Wickes, Ph.D.
Dr. Wickes' lab's major interest is in the area of molecular diagnostics for both bacteria and fungi, basic research on Cryptococcus neoformans with a focus on molecular mechanisms of differentiation, and the molecular and genetic regulation of biofilm formation in Candida sp. His laboratory extensively integrates teaching and instruction into the research program and currently has trainees of all ranks.
Ph.D., Microbiology at Catholic University, Washington, D.C.
Keywords: Cryptococcus Neoformans
Dr. Wickes' laboratory is interested in the molecular biology of differentiation in Cryptococcus neoformans and the identification and diagnosis of medically important fungi. This interest is manifested in a number of different projects that range from basic research to translational clinical studies and in some areas, extends beyond fungi into bacteria. They have a number of active projects in the laboratory.
- Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic human fungal pathogen. Their major interest in C. neoformans concerns the genes involved in morphology and differentiation. They study two developmental processes, mating and monokaryotic fruiting. Mating occurs between cells of compatible mating types while monokaryotic fruiting occurs in single cell types. Their reason for studying differentiation lies in determining which morphology, yeast or spore, is responsible for generating infectious particles that ultimately are inhaled, and cause disease.
- A second fungus that they study is Candida glabrata. This yeast is one of the most common causes of non-albicans candidiasis and has attracted increasing interest due to its higher intrinsic resistance to antifungal drugs. They are presently interested in developing new selectable markers and other molecular tools for this pathogen, and also study biofilm production by C. glabrata. They have an oral study of C. glabrata in AIDs patients and have developed a diagnostic strategy for distinguishing these yeasts from other Candida spp. in clinical isolates.
- In addition to our basic research programs, they also have an extensive diagnostic program. They collaborate with the Fungus Testing Laboratory in the UTHSCSA Dept. of Pathology in the analysis of clinical isolates. The laboratory uses molecular methods to identify rare or difficult to work with fungi. They also conduct epidemiologic studies on outbreaks to determine relatedness.
- In collaboration with the Dept. of Pathology, they have been studying drug resistance in bacteria, specifically, ESBL (Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase) organisms. Their interests lie in developing molecular diagnostic strategies that focus on a novel technique called LATE (Late After the Exponential) PCR.
Awards & Accomplishments
- 01/2012 Athletic Hall of Fame: Catholic University of America
- 01/2010 National Institutes of Health: College of CSR Reviewers
- 01/2009 Outstanding Review Award: Clinical Infectious Diseases
- 01/2008 UTHSCSA Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Institute Fellow
- 01/2007 Co-author: "First Report of the Emergence of CTX-M Type ESBLs as the Predominant ESBL Isolated in a U.S. Healthcare System." Named one of the 10 most important β-lactamase papers at the 47th ICAA Meeting, Chicago, IL
- 1/2004 Distinguished Service Award: American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Publication Board
- 01/2003 Outstanding Editorial Board Member: American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Journal of Clinical Microbiology)
- 01/2002 Outstanding Editorial Board Member: American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Journal of Clinical Microbiology
- 01/2001 Outstanding Editorial Board Member: American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
- 01/2001-Present Texas Branch, American Society for Microbiology
- 01/2001-Present Center for the Enhancement of the Biology/Biomaterials Interface (CEBBI)
- 01/2001-Present San Antonio Cancer Institute (SACI), Full member
- 01/1999-Present Genetics Society of America
- 01/1992-Present International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
- 01/1992-Present Medical Mycology Society of the Americas
- 01/1984-Present American Society for Microbiology
- Combat-Related Pythium aphanidermatum Invasive Wound Infection: Case Report and Discussion of Utility of Molecular Diagnostics. Farmer AR, Murray CK, Driscoll IR, Wickes BL, Wiederhold N, Sutton DA, Sanders C, Mende K, Enniss B, Feig J, Ganesan A, Rini EA, Vento TJ.. J Clin Microbiol. 2015 Jun;53(6):1968-75. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00410-15. Epub 2015 Apr 1. PMID: 25832301
- Efficacy of the investigational echinocandin ASP9726 in a guinea pig model of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. Wiederhold NP, Najvar LK, Matsumoto S, Bocanegra RA, Herrera ML, Wickes BL, Kirkpatrick WR, Patterson TF. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015 May;59(5):2875-81. doi: 10.1128/AAC.04857-14. Epub 2015 Mar 9. PMID:25753643
- First report of Westerdykella dispersa as a cause of an angioinvasive fungal infection in a neutropenic host. Sue PK, Gurda GT, Lee R, Watkins T, Green R, Memon W, Milstone AM, Zelazny AM, Fahle GA, Pham TA, Gibas CF, Sutton DA, Wickes BL, Wiederhold NP, Zhang SX. J Clin Microbiol. 2014 Dec;52(12):4407-11. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02012-14. Epub 2014 Sep 17. PMID:25232159
- A universal DNA extraction and PCR amplification method for fungal rDNA sequence-based identification. Romanelli AM, Fu J, Herrera ML, Wickes BL. Mycoses. 2014 Oct;57(10):612-22. doi: 10.1111/myc.12208. Epub 2014 May 27. PMID:24865530
- Fungal diagnostics. Kozel TR, Wickes BL. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014 Apr 1;4(4):a019299. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a019299. Review. PMID:24692193
- Rapid ertapenem susceptibility testing and Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase phenotype detection in Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates by use of automated microscopy of immobilized live bacterial cells. Burnham CA, Frobel RA, Herrera ML, Wickes BL. J Clin Microbiol. 2014 Mar;52(3):982-6. doi: 10.1128/JCM.03255-13. Epub 2014 Jan 3. PMID:24391202
- Rapid emergence of echinocandin resistance in Candida glabrata resulting in clinical and microbiologic failure. Lewis JS 2nd, Wiederhold NP, Wickes BL, Patterson TF, Jorgensen JH. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Sep;57(9):4559-61. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01144-13. Epub 2013 Jul 1. PMID:23817368
- The production of monokaryotic hyphae by Cryptococcus neoformans can be induced by high temperature arrest of the cell cycle and is independent of same-sex mating. Fu J, Morris IR, Wickes BL. PLoS Pathog. 2013;9(5):e1003335. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003335. Epub 2013 May 2. PMID:23658522
- Disseminated mycotic infection caused by Westerdykella species in a German Shepherd dog. Armentano RA, Cooke KL, Wickes BL. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013 Feb 1;242(3):381-7. doi: 10.2460/javma.242.3.381. PMID:23327182
- Mixed infection caused by Lecythophora canina sp. nov. and Plectosphaerella cucumerina in a German shepherd dog. Troy GC, Panciera DL, Pickett JP, Sutton DA, Gene J, Cano JF, Guarro J, Thompson EH, Wickes BL. Med Mycol. 2013 Jul;51(5):455-60. doi: 10.3109/13693786.2012.754998. Epub 2013 Jan 7.PMID:23294425
- Catherine Davis, Research Associate