Melanie T. Cushion, PhD, also is a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, and one of 50 Veterans Affairs (VA) senior research career scientists in the country. She is an internationally recognized expert in the particular field associated with fungi, having researched fungal pathogens for more than 30 years.
Early in her career she began working with organisms referred to as Pneumocystis , the leading killer of patients with advanced HIV infection in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. At that time, these microbes were thought to be protozoans, but the girl work with others within the college led to the particular discovery that they had been actually yeast pathogens. She later initiated the Pneumocystis Genome Project, which helped to understand the metabolism and genetics of the fungus, plus her laboratory was the first to report Pneumocystis carinii possesses a linear mitochondrial genome.
Further work in her lab also showed that will Pneumocystis were highly efficient in transmission of infection. Recent study by Cushion led in order to the identification of Pneumocystis sexual reproduction as a new drug target. Inhibition associated with this mode of duplication by the particular anti-fungal echinocandins resulted in prevention and eradication of Pneumocystis pneumonia, an entirely new paradigm.
Cushion’s analysis program has been funded since 1987 through more compared to $30 million in grants from the VA, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. She will be a member of the Joint Program Committee-2 (JPC-2), the advisory body to the particular JPC-2 Chair for the Defense Health Program Military Contagious Diseases Research Program, and is the fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and associated with the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM) Program.
As senior associate dean since 2013, Cushion has established several internal grant programs, give pre-review workshops and training sessions, symposia and recognition awards for College of Medicine research faculty and staff. She offers mentored plus trained numerous graduate students, junior teachers, postdoctoral and infectious diseases fellows. In 2017, she was honored with the Antimicrobial Research Award from your American Society with regard to Microbiology.