Saori Amaike Campen, PhD

Staff Scientist


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Saori Amaike Campen, PhD, is a staff scientist at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Her long-term research interest is to elucidate gene regulatory networks in fungal metabolism and biology. Dr. Amaike Campen has been involved in fungal research since her sophomore year of her bachelor thesis research, and received a BS from the Tokyo University of Agriculture in Japan, MSc from University of Alberta in Canada, and PhD from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining JCVI in 2016, Dr. Amaike Campen worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the Joint BioEnergy Institute/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. While working there, she served as a science advisor for iCLEM program in Class 2015. Dr. Amaike Campen has extensive experience in microbial genetics, genomics, and biochemistry.

Research Priorities

Identification of gene regulatory networks of secondary metabolism in human fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum

Histoplasma capsulatum is a dimorphic fungal pathogen and endemic in the United States, causing Histoplasmosis. Identification and characterization of regulatory networks that control dimorphism, virulence, and secondary metabolism will help us understand how the fungus adapts to the host environment and causes the disease.

  • Determine secondary metabolite regulatory pathways in H. capsulatum
  • Identify and characterize H. capsulatum secondary metabolites for their role in virulence

Characterization of Aspergillus flavus-maize interactions using transcriptomics

Aspergillus flavus is a filamentous fungus and produces carcinogenic and mutagenic mycotoxin, aflatoxin. Recently, we performed transcriptome analysis in A. flavus infected aflatoxin-susceptible and resistant maize kernels to understand the molecular mechanism of A. flavus- host interaction. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Jeffrey Cary from USDA-ARS.

  • Performed RNA-seq and miRNA-seq for A. flavus and A. flavus-infected corn kernels


2016: Ecm33 promoter for high titer heterologous enzyme production in Aspergillus niger. US Patent Application Ser No. 62/554, 743 through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Pending

2011: Over-production of secondary metabolites by over-expression of the veA gene. Pub No. US2011/0076682A1.


Select Publications

An Aspergillus nidulans bZIP response pathway hardwired for defensive secondary metabolism operates through aflR.
Molecular microbiology. 2012-03-01; 83.5: 1024-34.
PMID: 22283524
Aspergillus flavus.
Annual review of phytopathology. 2011-01-01; 49.107-33.
PMID: 21513456
Distinct roles for VeA and LaeA in development and pathogenesis of Aspergillus flavus.
Eukaryotic cell. 2009-07-01; 8.7: 1051-60.
PMID: 19411623
3 Genetics, Biosynthesis, and Regulation of Aflatoxins and other Aspergillus flavus Secondary Metabo
Expression of naturally ionic liquid-tolerant thermophilic cellulases in Aspergillus niger.
PloS one. 2017-01-01; 12.6: e0189604.
PMID: 29281693
Homologous NRPS-like gene clusters mediate redundant small-molecule biosynthesis in Aspergillus flavus.
Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English). 2013-01-28; 52.5: 1590-4.
PMID: 23281040
The bZIP protein MeaB mediates virulence attributes in Aspergillus flavus.
PloS one. 2013-01-01; 8.12: e74030.
PMID: 24040154