Matthew Martens, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Matthew Martens is a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of Dr. Sinem Beyhan at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Dr. Martens investigates the molecular mechanisms governing virulence and dimorphism in the primary pathogenic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. In the lab, his work involves the use of CRISPR/CAS9, cloning, microscopy, comparative transcriptomics, and proteomics in determining changes to morphology and virulence associated with the disruption of key fungal regulators. His work additionally examines the impact of exogenous environmental conditions, including temperature and light, on the ability of H. capsulatum to convert from the environmental hyphal form to the pathogenic yeast form.

Dr. Martens received his BS in bioinformatics from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2017. He went on to complete his PhD in immunology, pathology, and infectious diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2021, where he primarily studied the human pathogen Toxoplasma gondii in the lab of Dr. Paul Davis.

Research Priorities

Identification of determinants impacting conversion between hyphal and yeast morphology in H. capsulatum under variable temperature conditions
  • Determination of morphology effects following disruption of hyphae-associated and yeast-associated genes
  • Evaluation of transcriptional changes following disruption of key regulatory genes
Elucidation of signaling pathways governing regulation of dimorphism in H. capsulatum
  • Determination of differential expression of putative signaling regulators under different temperatures and fungal growth phases
  • Identification of interacting proteins suggesting potential hierarchy of pathway components
Identification of virulence factors in H. capsulatum
  • Determination of fungal conversion between yeast and hyphae following disruption of known or predicted virulence factors
  • Identification of previously-unreported virulence factors based on differential expression under known virulence-inducing conditions

Publications

In Vitro Selection Implicates ROP1 as a Resistance Gene for an Experimental Therapeutic Benzoquinone Acyl Hydrazone in Toxoplasma gondii.
Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy. 2021-02-17; 65.3:
PMID: 33361291
De novo Assembly and Analysis of the Chilean Pencil Catfish Trichomycterus areolatus Transcriptome.
Journal of genomics. 2016-09-06; 4.29-41.
PMID: 27672404

Research Priorities

Identification of determinants impacting conversion between hyphal and yeast morphology in H. capsulatum under variable temperature conditions
  • Determination of morphology effects following disruption of hyphae-associated and yeast-associated genes
  • Evaluation of transcriptional changes following disruption of key regulatory genes
Elucidation of signaling pathways governing regulation of dimorphism in H. capsulatum
  • Determination of differential expression of putative signaling regulators under different temperatures and fungal growth phases
  • Identification of interacting proteins suggesting potential hierarchy of pathway components
Identification of virulence factors in H. capsulatum
  • Determination of fungal conversion between yeast and hyphae following disruption of known or predicted virulence factors
  • Identification of previously-unreported virulence factors based on differential expression under known virulence-inducing conditions