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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Darren Thomson

Dr Darren Thomson

Senior Experimental Officer

 Geoffrey Pope 


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


I’m an imaging scientist who applies and disseminates advanced live-cell imaging technologies and image processing techniques. I apply these to the growth of various pathogenic fungi, the protein dynamics therein, and their interactions with host epithelia, immune cells and ex-vivo infection models. As a PhD student with Alex Brand in the Aberdeen Fungal Group and a post-doc with Rob Arkowitz in Nice, I generated novel techniques via cross-faculty approaches to define previously-impossible-to-measure live-cell applied-forces and fluorescent protein dynamics within invasive pathogenic fungi against tissue-soft substrates. These experimental advances led to a technology-focused Experimental Officer role within the Manchester Fungal Infection Group, involving the development of a bespoke fungal infection imaging facility with Nick Read (Infection Phenotyping Centre At Manchester; IPCAM) and the creation of a taught postgraduate Technologies Workshop unit for MRes Infection Biology with Elaine Bignell.
I joined the MRC CMM in 2021 as Senior Experimental Officer to support the CMM teams with experimental, technological and analytical know-how to visualise and measure how fungal pathogens respond, regulate and impinge on host model organisms at the single-cell level.


2010-2014           PhD in Microbiology, University of Aberdeen

2009-2010           MSc Quantitative Cellular and Molecular Imaging, University of Edinburgh

2005-2009           BSc (Hons) Physiology, University of Aberdeen


2015- 2021          Experimental Officer, Manchester Fungal Infection Group, University of Manchester, UK.

2014-2015           Postdoctoral Researcher, Fungal cell biophysics (Robert Arkowitz), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France.

2014                    Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Aberdeen

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Journal articles

Thomson DD, Wehmeier S, Byfield FJ, Janmey PA, Caballero-Lima D, Crossley A, Brand AC (In Press). Contact-induced apical asymmetry drives the thigmotropic responses of Candida albicans hyphae. Cellular Microbiology, 17, 342-354. Abstract.
Thomson DD, Berman J, Brand AC (In Press). High frame-rate resolution of cell division during Candida albicans filamentation. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 88, 54-58. Abstract.
Okaa UJ, Bertuzzi M, Fortune-Grant R, Thomson DD, Moyes DL, Naglik JR, Bignell E (2023). Aspergillus fumigatus Drives Tissue Damage via Iterative Assaults upon Mucosal Integrity and Immune Homeostasis. Infect Immun, 91(2). Abstract.  Author URL.
John LLH, Thomson DD, Bicanic T, Hoenigl M, Brown AJP, Harrison TS, Bignell EM (2023). Heightened Efficacy of Anidulafungin When Used in Combination with Manogepix or 5-Flucytosine against Candida auris in Vitro. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 67(6). Abstract.  Author URL.
Garcia-Rodriguez KM, Goenka A, Thomson DD, Bahri R, Tontini C, Salcman B, Hernandez-Pando R, Bulfone-Paus S (2022). Bacillus Calmette–Guérin-Induced Human Mast Cell Activation Relies on IL-33 Priming. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(14), 7549-7549. Abstract.
Rahman S, van Rhijn N, Papastamoulis P, Thomson DD, Carter Z, Fortune-Grant R, Rattray M, Bromley MJ, Bignell E (2022). Distinct Cohorts of Aspergillus fumigatus Transcription Factors Are Required for Epithelial Damage Occurring via Contact- or Soluble Effector-Mediated Mechanisms. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 12 Abstract.
Ortiz SC, Pennington K, Thomson DD, Bertuzzi M (2022). Novel Insights into Aspergillus fumigatus Pathogenesis and Host Response from State-of-the-Art Imaging of Host–Pathogen Interactions during Infection. Journal of Fungi, 8(3). Abstract.
Ben-Ghazzi N, Moreno-Velásquez S, Seidel C, Thomson D, Denning DW, Read ND, Bowyer P, Gago S (2021). Characterisation of Aspergillus fumigatus Endocytic Trafficking within Airway Epithelial Cells Using High-Resolution Automated Quantitative Confocal Microscopy. Journal of Fungi, 7(6), 454-454. Abstract.
Brun S, Kuo H-C, Jeffree CE, Thomson DD, Read N (2021). Courtship Ritual of Male and Female Nuclei during Fertilization in Neurospora crassa. Microbiology Spectrum, 9(2). Abstract.
Brun S, Kuo H-C, Jeffree CE, Thomson DD, Read N (2021). Courtship ritual of male and female nuclei during fertilisation in <i>Neurospora crassa</i>. Abstract.
Sueiro-Olivares M, Scott J, Gago S, Petrovic D, Kouroussis E, Zivanovic J, Yu Y, Strobel M, Cunha C, Thomson D, et al (2021). Fungal and host protein persulfidation are functionally correlated and modulate both virulence and antifungal response. PLOS BIOLOGY, 19(6).  Author URL.
Muñoz A, Bertuzzi M, Seidel C, Thomson D, Bignell EM, Read ND (2021). Live-cell imaging of rapid calcium dynamics using fluorescent, genetically-encoded GCaMP probes with Aspergillus fumigatus. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 151, 103470-103470.
Puerner C, Kukhaleishvili N, Thomson D, Schaub S, Noblin X, Seminara A, Bassilana M, Arkowitz RA (2020). Mechanical force-induced morphology changes in a human fungal pathogen. BMC Biology, 18(1). Abstract.
Scott J, Sueiro-Olivares M, Thornton BP, Owens RA, Muhamadali H, Fortune-Grant R, Thomson D, Thomas R, Hollywood K, Doyle S, et al (2020). Targeting methionine synthase in a fungal pathogen causes a metabolic imbalance that impacts cell energetics, growth, and virulence. mBio, 11(5), 1-23. Abstract.
Macdonald D, Thomson DD, Johns A, Valenzuela AC, Gilsenan JM, Lord KM, Bowyer P, Denning DW, Read ND, Bromley MJ, et al (2019). Correction: Inducible Cell Fusion Permits Use of Competitive Fitness Profiling in the Human Pathogenic Fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2019) 63: 1 (e01615-18) DOI: 10.1128/AAC.01615-18). Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 63(6). Abstract.
Macdonald D, Thomson DD, Johns A, Valenzuela AC, Gilsenan JM, Lord KM, Bowyer P, Denning DW, Read ND, Bromley MJ, et al (2019). Inducible cell fusion permits use of competitive fitness profiling in the human pathogenic fungus aspergillus fumigatus. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 63(1). Abstract.


Rahman S, Thomson DD, Bertuzzi M (2021). Automated Quantitative Analysis of Airway Epithelial Cell Detachment Upon Fungal Challenge. In  (Ed) Methods in Molecular Biology, 225-239. Abstract.

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Mon-Fri; 9am-5pm

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