Kevin K. Fuller, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Special Interests

  • Pathogenesis of Fungal Keratitis
  • Development of Novel Antifungal Therapies

Training

  • Post-doctoral Training: Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH
  • PhD: Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH
  • BS: Microbiology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH

Research Summary

Corneal ulcers caused by fungi (mycotic keratis) are a significant source of ocular morbidity and blindness worldwide. Dr. Fuller’s research focuses on the pathogenesis of these infections with the ultimate goal of developing better treatments against them. We approach the problem as fungal biologists, understanding that the fungus must adapt to stresses encountered in the host in order drive infection. Therefore, we are interested in elucidating (1) what those host stresses are in the context of eye infection, (2) which signaling pathways promote adaptation of the fungus to those stresses, and ultimately (3) whether those pathways can serve as targets for novel anti-fungal therapy. We are taking several approaches to these ends. First, we (and our collaborators) are analyzing phenotypic and genotypic variations across patient isolates to identify what fungal characteristics correlate with disease outcome. Second, we are using gene expression profiling of the fungi from infected eyes to understand the fungal response in vivo. Once we identify candidate virulence genes, we can test their importance for pathogenesis by making fungal mutants (e.g. gene knockouts) and testing the virulence of those mutants in relevant animal models of infection. Through this work, we hope to shed light onto the biology of fungal keratitis and improve outcome in these patients.