Prof Melanie T. Cushion

Melanie T. Cushion is a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UC. She serves as the Senior Associate Dean for Research at the UC College of Medicine and is a Research Career Scientist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her research focuses on the fungal pathogens in the genus Pneumocystis. Fungi in this genus cause an oftentimes lethal pneumonia (PCP) in humans and other mammals with compromised immune status. PCP is not responsive to standard antifungal therapy with few treatment alternatives besides tri¬methoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Her laboratory focuses on pre-clinical drug development that includes discovery of potential new targets by understanding the metabolism of these obli¬gate fungi through comparative genomics, transcriptomics, and metallomics; in silico or in vitro screening of inhibitors to identify potential new drugs; evaluation of toxicity in vitro, and eventually evaluation in rodent animal models of this fungal pneumonia. Her publications include over 100 peer-reviewed papers; over 50 chapters, reviews, editorials or letters and a book editorship. She has served on the AIDS-Associated Opportunistic Infections and Cancer study section as a member and Chair and served on several ad hoc sections.  She has also served on Veterans Affairs Research Career Scientist and Merit Review study sections. She holds a patent for bisbenzamidines as therapeutic agents and conducts a service that screens potential new anti-PCP drugs.  Dr. Cushion has served on several editorial boards, especially for ASM journals. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (2009). She is a member of the JPC-2, the advisory body to the JPC-2 Chair for the Defense Health Program Military Infectious Diseases Research Program. Her research program has been funded since 1987 through grants from the VA, NIH, and NSF. She is a graduate (2011) of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine® (ELAM®) Program for Women.  Dr. Cushion received the 2017 Antimicrobial Research Award from the American Society for Microbiology in recognition of her research on the pre-clinical development of new anti-fungal drugs.