Ronda J Rolfes


Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies


Department of Biology


Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding how microbial cells sense and signal environmental conditions that lead to changes in gene expression, metabolism and morphology.

In one project, we are examining the mechanisms that the yeast Saccharomyces uses to sense the abundance of nutrients and alter gene expression. Recent work has been to examine the metabolism of inositol pyrophosphates, based on our discovery and characterization of a new phosphatase that metabolizes 5PP-inositol polyphosphate (IP7) to inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), and the role of these molecules in the stress response pathway. Other work focused on the expression of the enzymes that comprise the purine nucleotide biosynthetic pathway. I've had a long interest in purine nucleotide biosynthesis starting from my graduate work in the bacterium Escherichia coli to my work in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

In a second project, we are examining filamentation in the yeast Candida albicans. This microbe is a human commensal and can be pathogenic. We are examining the molecular mechanisms necessary for forming hyphae and responding to environmental conditions that link nutrient uptake and virulence.