Researchers

Director, Valley Fever Center for Excellence

Dr. Galgiani has been working with Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) for the last four decades. As Director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence his passion is research in the treatment of Valley Fever. This involves studies to improve the detection of the fungus in the environment, to increase the sensitivity of diagnostic tests for patients, and to develop a vaccine to prevent the disease in both humans and animals.


Professor of Medicine
Staff physician, Southern Arizona
Veterans Affairs Health Care System

Dr. Ampel works as an Infectious Disease Specialist for the Southern Arizona Veterans Health Affairs Care System. His primary focus of research includes understanding the immunology and epidemiology of coccidioidomycosis in humans. 


Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Dr Comrie is a professor of climatology within the College of Geography and Regional Development. He has been studying the climatic impacet of coccidiodomycosis in the desert of Southern Arizona. His other interests include regional and local climate variability, air quality, climate-health relationships, mapping, spatial modeling and interpolation and the effects of climate change on human health. 


Assistant Professor
Valley Fever Center for Excellence

As both a practicing physician and a research scientist, Dr. Donovan has long cultivated a particular interest in medical mycology. Her research focuses on the identification of virulence factors and the interaction of several fungi with the human host. Her goal is to identify and characterize regulatory mechanisms at a post-transcriptional level that have a crucial role in the development of Valley Fever in humans.


Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Pediatrics
Director, Pediatric Residency Program
Medical Director, Infection Prevention

In addition to serving as a professor of clinical pediatrics, Dr. Elliott works as a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at the University of Arizona Medical Center. His research interst in coccidiodomycosis lies in understanding and preventing the disease. His other areas of interest include toxin-mediated diseases, bladder dysfunction and urinary tract infections, and graduate medical education efficacy. 


Professor, Immunobiology

The Frelinger lab has been interested for some years in immune responses to the lung pathogens, influenza virus and Francisella tularensis. They have begun collaborations on the role of T cell responses in Coccidioides infections and the development of an effective vaccine.


Associate Dean of Public Affairs
Director of Research, Banner Lung Institute
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Immunobiology

Dr. Knox's research has been focused on various clinical and translational projects dealing with coccidioidomycosis inlucding the use of bronchoalveolar lavage to study the lung mucosal responses to Coccidioides. He has also been working on the examination of radiographic manifestations of coccidioidomycosis and how antifungal prophylaxis affects lung transplant recipients. 


Research Specialist, Principal
Valley Fever Center for Excellence

Dr. Mandel’s current research has been focused on the mechanisms of the pathogenicity of Coccidioides species. With this goal, she has been able to develop tools for gene disruption in order to understand the genes’ relationship to virulence. She hopes to use her research to understand the transition from the organism’s state of inability to cause disease while in the soil to a state of being able to cause disease once inside a host.


Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program
Assistant Professor, Medicine

Dr. Meinke's research interests are in the area of infectious disease in immunocompromised patient populations. She is currently working on a project involving cocci in recipients of throacic solid organ transplants (lungs, heart/lungs). 


Professor, Pharmacy Practice-Science
Associate Professor, Medicine

Dr. Nix has played a key role in the design and implementation of the Nikkomycin Z clinical trials at the Valley Fever Center for Excellence. He teaches infectious disease topics in multiple courses and precepts students and residents on infectious disease rotations. His other research interests include treatment of bacterial infections, antibacterial resistance and antimicrobial stewardship.


Professor, School of Plant Sciences
Professor, Genetics- GIDP
Professor, BIO5 Institute

Dr. Orbach is a professor of plant pathology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. His focus is based on studying the ecological niche of the fungus that causes Valley Fever and the analysis of the global gene expression in Coccidioides posadasii during both saprobic and parasitic growth. In his analysis, he has been working with the Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE). His research interests also include the molecular genetics of fungal pathogenicity in animals and plants.


Research Scientist
Valley Fever Center for Excellence

Dr. Shubitz is a Research Scientist at The Valley Fever Center for Excellence. Her research focus includes developing a vaccine for Valley Fever, studying the epidemiology of the disease in canines, the ecological distribution of the fungus in Southern Arizona and interactions between the host (both animal and human) and the fungus that causes Valley Fever, using animal models.


Assistant Professor
Division of Community, Environment and Policy

Dr. Tabor is an assistant professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. His research in Valley Fever is focused on the epidemiology and ecology of coccidiodomycosis. In addition, his research interests include the epidemiology of dieases with strong environmental determinants and the ecology of infectious diseases. He is also interested in the health workforce and decisional support which balances public health, environmental protection, and economic development in both domestic and international settings. 


Professor, School of Geography and Development

Dr. Yool's interest in coccidioidomycosis is focused primarily on the case distribution of Southern Arizona. He also conducts research in plant geography, landscape ecology, global change, space-time variability of natural vegetation, impacts of human disturbances and natural disturbances on the Earth's biosphere, mapping change in the Southwest borderlands and fire mapping science.