Summer Hayek, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Phone: (505) 272-8157
Summer Hayek holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the State University of New York-Geneseo (2003) and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin (2010). Her doctoral work focused on the role of PDGF-B and SorCS1 proteins in vascular integrity and peripheral insulin sensitivity in mouse models of obesity-induced type 2 diabetes. In 2013, Hayek completed an NIH-IRACDA-ASERT postdoctoral fellowship for excellence in research and teaching at the University of New Mexico. As a postdoc, Hayek studied the function of V-ATPase proton pumps and vacuolar pH homeostasis in fungal virulence. After finishing her postdoctoral fellowship and before joining UNM's BMB research faculty in 2016, Hayek spent time as a children's science outreach coordinator for the Emerald Coast Science Center, a textbook content designer for Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group, and served as a member of the science faculty at Northwest Florida State College.
Summer Hayek is affiliated with the Parra Lab in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her long-term research interest is to determine the mechanisms by which the V-ATPase proton pump regulates pH and contributes to virulence in the C. albicans human fungal pathogen. Current research projects in the Hayek lab focus on two main areas:
- Delineate the interplay between V-ATPase and the Pma1p plasma membrane proton pump during cytosolic pH homeostasis in C. albicans and determine the relative contribution of cytosolic pH to fungal virulence.
- Identify novel players involved in V-ATPase pathways in C. albicans; these may serve as possible anti-fungal drug targets that can be manipulated to treat life-threatening, drug-resistant fungal infections.
- American Heart Association