Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogenic yeast that is a common member of the human gut flora. It can also survive outside the human body. It is detected in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth in 40–60% of healthy adults.It is usually a commensal organism, but it can become pathogenic in immunocompromised individuals under a variety of conditions.It is one of the few species of the genus Candida that causes the human infection candidiasis, which results from an overgrowth of the fungus. Candidiasis is, for example, often observed in HIV-infected patients. C. albicans is the most common fungal species isolated from biofilms either formed on (permanent) implanted medical devices or on human tissueC. albicansC. tropicalisC. parapsilosis, and C. glabrata are together responsible for 50–90% of all cases of candidiasis in humans. A mortality rate of 40% has been reported for patients with systemic candidiasis due to C. albicans. By one estimate, invasive candidiasis contracted in a hospital causes 2,800 to 11,200 deaths yearly in the US. Nevertheless, these numbers may not truly reflect the true extent of damage this organism causes, given new studies indicating that C. albicans can cross the blood brain barrier.

C. albicans is commonly used as a model organism for fungal pathogens. It is generally referred to as a dimorphic fungus since it grows both as yeast and filamentous cells. However, it has several different morphological phenotypes including opaque, GUT, and pseudohyphal forms. C. albicans was for a long time considered an obligate diploid organism without a haploid stage. This is, however, not the case. Next to a haploid stage C. albicans can also exist in a tetraploid stage. The latter is formed when diploid C. albicans cells mate when they are in the opaque form. The diploid genome size is approximately 29 Mb, and up to 70% of the protein coding genes have not yet been characterized.C. albicans is easily cultured in the lab and can be studied both in vivo and in vitro. Depending on the media different studies can be done as the media influences the morphological state of C. albicans. A special type of medium is CHROMagar™ Candida, which can be used to identify different species of candida