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5 Questions with Faculty: Magdia De Jesus

Magdia De Jesus examines colony forming units of the fungus Candida albicans extracted from the intestinal mucosa of mice. (Photo by Mike Wren)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 12, 2016) — Magdia De Jesus is an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the School of Public Health. She came to UAlbany two years ago from the Wadsworth Center, where she was a postdoctoral fellow.

“While at Wadsworth, I enjoyed working with UAlbany undergraduate and graduate students,” she said. “I felt that I was needed at UAlbany as I represent the non-conventional image of a scientist as a woman and under-represented minority."

What are your working on now?

The De Jesus laboratory has two main interests: 1. How are vaccine delivery vehicles such as micro and nanoparticles are recognized by the intestinal mucosa and how can engineer these to obtained targeted delivery? And 2. How do opportunistic commensal fungi, such as Candida albicans, that are implicated in inflammatory bowel disease cause disease?

What made you decide to pursue this field?

As a graduate student, I was trained as a mycologist, specifically looking at host pathogen interactions. As postdoc, I really enjoyed studying the mucosal immune system. I decided that as I moved forward in my academic career I would merge my two favorite fields of mycology and mucosal immunology.

If you weren’t teaching at a university, what would you be doing?

During the day, I would be working as an academic administrator helping build new academic initiatives and programs. After hours, I would spend a lot of time working on developing the De Jesus foundation. My foundation would be geared towards providing scholarships for students who wanted to explore a discipline or go abroad but do not have the resources to explore a dream.

What was your first job?

My first job was as an assistant photographer in a photo studio. Ironically, even today I am a still a photographer. I am a photographer of microbes.

What’s one thing students might be surprised to know about you?

I trained in a boxing gym in the South Bronx when I was in college.

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