Current Research Projects

Research to Prevent Valley Fever

 

At UC Merced:

Professor David Ojcius is studying the host response and risk of Coccidioides immitis as well as organism diversity (genomics and virulence) to identify risk factors for disseminated disease.

Treatment Research

 

 

At UCSF Fresno:

Dr. Michael Peterson is helping establish both a network of healthcare providers and a Task Force with the study team at the NIH and CDC to enhance the clinical trial study design.

Detection Research

 

 

At Community Regional Medical Center:

Dr. Dominic T. Dizon and Dr. Marilyn Mitchell have developed a PCR test to identify the presence of the fungus specific to Coccidioides immitis.

 

At UCSF Fresno:

Dr. Michael W. Peterson is:

  • examining the utility of serology, CT biopsy and bronchoscopy in distinguishing lung nodules caused by Coccidioidomycosis from nodules due to lung cancer;
  • developing a clinical decision support tool using clinical and radiographic criteria to differentiate lung nodules caused by Coccidioidomycosis from nodules due to lung cancer;
  • differentiating lung nodules from Coccidioidomycosis and lung cancer using radiographic appearance;
  • determining the utility of Coccidioidomycosis antigen detection in diagnosing acute and chronic Coccidioidomycosis

Dr. Mickey Sachdeva is determining the safety and diagnostic yield from CT biopsies for lung nodules in a high-volume medical center and researching the radiographic natural history of Coccidioidomycosis lung nodules.

Dr. Kathryn Bilello is determining clinical outcomes from a multidisciplinary lung nodule clinic in a Coccidioidomycosis endemic region.

 

At UC Berkeley:

Professor John Taylor uses animal studies, environmental studies and genomic studies to examine the development of hyphae and c. immitis athroconitia. He focuses on old, wild rodent research and new, comparative genomic research in dead mammals.

 

At UC San Francisco:

Dr. Anita Sil is studying the basic biology and virulence of the thermally dimorphic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, and intends to extend her genetic and genomic analyses to Coccidioides. She specializes in environmental signals and fungal genes that promote the transition between the soil and host forms of Histoplasma.

 

At CSU Bakersfield:

Professor Antje Lauer is conducting a number of studies, including examining invasive Bryzoan species and their associated microorganisms, investigating microcrustaceans as natural predators of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a fungal pathogen responsible for global amphibian decline; detecting growth sites of Coccidioides immitis (the valley fever fungus) in the southern San Joaquin Valley, and identifying potential antagonistic microorganisms to this fungal pathogen.

 

At UC Merced:

Professor Paul Brown is surveying healthcare providers to understand current treatment protocols being followed and examining responses to similar public health concerns (such as Lyme disease).

Survivor Impact Research

 

 

At UC San Francisco: 

Professor Leslie Wilson is examining the economic impact of valley fever in California.

 

At UC Santa Barbara: 

Anthropologist Sarah Rios is documenting farmworkers’ accounts of valley fever in the Central Valley.

 

At UC Merced:

Postdoctoral scholar Erin Gaab interviewed children with coccidioidomycosis and their families to characterize the impact of the illness on Californians’ psychosocial and family life. 

Professor Paul Brown is surveying targeted occupational and age groups to characterize the illness for patients.