Recommended by: Claire Fraser-Liggett, University of Maryland
Vincent Bruno became interested in the molecular aspects of fungal pathogenesis during the first year of his graduate studies. As a PhD student, Bruno worked to generate mutants in Candida albicans in a high-throughput manner. "This was an awful lot of fun because we made several really interesting connections that would not have been made — or would have taken way longer — using a step-by-step scientific method," he says.
Now an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences, Bruno is using transcriptomics and other approaches to chip away at "the ability of C. albicans to cause disease," he says. "My work has the potential to identify novel drug targets."
Bruno credits his PhD advisor, Carnegie Mellon University's Aaron Mitchell, with teaching him to always "look where the light is not shining," he says. "The potential of having to delve into a brand-new area within a field is what keeps me excited about using genomics and functional genomics to study biological problems."
Publication of note
Among his publications, Bruno considers a 2010 Genome Research paper in which he and his colleagues mapped the C. albicans transcriptome using RNA-seq as particularly influential. "We identified about 600 new genes that were not previously known," Bruno says.
In the next five to 10 years, Bruno says he expects researchers to have maxed out their efforts to deep-sequence microorganisms. Then, he adds, "there will be a real push to transform all the sequencing data into functional, biologically useful information."