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Summer Hayek, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Contact Information

Phone: (505) 272-8157

Academic Career

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.

Research Interests

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Professional Memberships

  • American Heart Association