Assistant Professor of Medicine
The University of Arizona
Dr. Donovan has long cultivated a particular interest in medical mycology. After completing her residency in Iran, she attended graduate school at the Gifu University, School of Medicine in Japan and obtained her Ph.D. Her research focus was in Candida albicans. Dr. Donovan developed specific training and expertise in protein purification, molecular biology and gene manipulation techniques. Her research focused on the identification of virulence factors and the interaction of the fungus with the human host. After securing a post- doctoral fellowship position at the Medical College of Ohio, Dr. Donovan shifted her research to Coccidioides immitis. She identified and purified urease protein and constructed a urease knock out strain of this fungus which demonstrated lesser virulence in an animal model. Her research showed promise for the development of a Coccidioides immitis vaccine. She then moved to the University of Cincinnati where her emphasis was involved with genetic manipulation of Histoplasma capsulatum and the fungal-host interaction in an animal model. In 2004, Dr. Donovan was given an opportunity to begin a residency in Internal Medicine and later completed an Infectious Disease fellowship with a focus in tropical medicine. That experience and her years as a practicing infectious diseases physician gave her a unique appreciation and understanding of the attention to detail required of a research scientist and the challenge treating patients with opportunistic fungal infections. Her greatest challenges are treating severely neutropenic patients and those with HIV/AIDS. Returning to her roots at the Valley fever Center for Excellence (VFCE), Dr. Donovan proposes to evaluate her observation that an earlier diagnosis of coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) can reduce both unnecessary tests and treatments, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality. Additional benefits would include but not be limited to improving antibiotic stewardship, developing population management programs, and serving as a model to address other opportunistic infections.
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.