About Luis R Martinez
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I am an associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. My research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of fungal brain invasion and colonization in immunocompromised individuals.
The encapsulated fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common cause of fungal meningitis, with the highest rate of disease in patients with AIDS. This microbe has developed its virulence factors by interacting with other organisms in the environment. It enters into the human body via the respiratory tract and the infection is controlled in the lungs of people with normal immunity. When a person’s immune system is defective, C. neoformans moves into the bloodstream and the fungus disseminates with a particular propensity to infect the brain. We are interested in elucidating the mechanisms of central nervous system (CNS) invasion by C. neoformans and the interactions of the fungus with cells of the CNS including microglia, astrocytes, and neurons.
- Central nervous system fungal infections
- Fungal biofilms
- Fungal pathogenesis and immunology