ASM Attends UN General AssemblyASM President, Susan Sharp, Ph.D., joined global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today in a historical meeting to focus on the commitment to fight AMR.
First off, could you explain what Pneumocystis carinii is and what it does?
How many people come down with Pneumocystis pneumonia every year and is it more prevalent in other parts of the world?
You head up the Pneumocystis genome project, and the organism used for sequencing was P. carinii, but the strain that infects humans is P. jirovecii. Why sequence P. carinii and does this cause any problems with interpreting your results?
What are some of the more surprising results to come out of the genomics work?
Scientists used to think that Pneumocystis was a protozoa, but we now know that it's a fungus. I see from your CV that the Society of Protozoologists honored you with their young investigator award back in the eighties. Any plans to send the prize back?
What's next for your lab?
What do you think is the most understudied microbial system?
I'm very interested in the coral reefs. In terms of the fungal diversity of the coral reefs specifically. I'd like to see a census taken.
If you could name a new microbe right now, would you name it after yourself? If not, how would you name it?
I would name it either for the host in which it appears or as an homage to one of the early workers in Pneumocystis, because it's been a very difficult organism to work with, and people have to be quite patient and really persistent in trying to understand it.
What advice would you give students about life as a microbiologist working in academia and medicine?
It's a little trite, but try and think outside the box. And also, you have to love what you do to be able to stick to it, so make sure you're committed and you love the stuff.
What is something about you that most people don't know?
Now we're going to have the tie-in to the coral reefs. I'm a scuba diver. French Polynesia is my favorite dive spot. Very, very vibrant, and lots of mega-life, lots of very nice little tiny things that I like to look at - nudibranchs and things like that. There are some other places in the Caribbean that are not in very good shape.