Project Summary/AbstractCryptococcus spp. represent an understudied genus of fungi that appears to haverelevance to allergy and asthma. This genus has previously been understudied due todifficulties in culturing, and early-life environmental exposures are not wellcharacterized. We propose to use high-throughput DNA sequencing to comprehensivelymeasure exposure after birth to this fungal group. This genus is commonly found inurban environments. We will utilize house dust samples from 131 participants from anexisting urban, Hispanic birth cohort at high risk of developing allergic sensitization dueto heredity. The goal of this new study is to further our understanding underlying theobservations of inverse associations between fungal diversity and allergic sensitization.We hypothesize that 1) beneficial housing characteristics are associated with increasedCryptococcus diversity and 2) exposure to decreased diversity within the fungal genusCryptococcus in early-life predict allergic sensitization development among pre-schoolchildren. Aim 1 is to identify home characteristics associated with Cryptococcusexposure and temporal persistence. Aim 2 is to determine associations betweenexposure to Cryptococcus spp. in early-life and allergic sensitization at age 4 years.Results will represent a new paradigm for determining potentially beneficial early-lifemicrobial exposures. Our interdisciplinary project is poised to then integrate findings intostandard medical care, housing interventions and asthma programs.