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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Dhara Malavia-Jones

Dr Dhara Malavia-Jones

Research Fellow

 Geoffrey Pope 328


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


I am a molecular microbiologist interested in clinically and industrially important microbes, particularly fungi. I joined Prof. Neil Gow’s group in Exeter as a post-doctoral researcher in 2019 after completing my PhD in Molecular Microbiology from University of Aberdeen. Prior to this, I acquired my MRes in Medical Mycology from University of Aberdeen in 2015 and MSc in Biotechnology from University of Exeter in 2012. Over the course of my career, I have also worked on industrial projects including biofuel production from rye grass and enzymatic production of active drug compounds at a global pharmaceutical company Piramal Healthcare Ltd., India.


2019 PhD in Molecular Microbiology, University of Aberdeen, UK
2015 MRes in Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology, University of Aberdeen, UK
2011 MSc in Biotechnology and Enterprise, University of Exeter, UK


2019- Present: Postdoctoral research associate, University of Exeter, UK.
2013-2014: Research Associate in Biocatalysis, Piramal Enterprise,Mumbai, India.


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Research interests

I am currently working on Candida albicans, an opportunistic fungal pathogen that can cause superficial and life-threatening invasive infections in humans. It is the main etiologic Candida species responsible for hospital-acquired invasive candidiasis worldwide. Severe fungal infections are particularly challenging to treat due to limitations in rapid diagnostics and treatment options. These limitations have encouraged a search from new potent antifungals and improved diagnostic tools.

The cell wall of C. albicans consists of specific signature molecules that can be exploited as targets to design new antifungal drugs and develop novel biosensors. My current research is focused on the development of novel molecular tools to identify previously unexplored targets and test activity of existing and potential antifungal compounds against these fungal targets.

Research projects

  • Genetic validation of sugar nucleotide biosynthesis as a target against Candida albicans.
  • Development and testing of enzyme-linked nanosensors for diagnosis of fungal infections.
  • Understanding agricultural azole use, impacts on local waterbodies and AMR

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Journal articles

Nikolov VN, Malavia D, Kubota T (2022). SWI/SNF and the histone chaperone Rtt106 drive expression of the Pleiotropic Drug Resistance network genes. Nat Commun, 13(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Malavia D, Gow NAR, Usher J (2020). Advances in Molecular Tools and in Vivo Models for the Study of Human Fungal Pathogenesis. Microorganisms, 8(6), 803-803. Abstract.
K. Hussain K, Malavia D, M. Johnson E, Littlechild J, Winlove CP, Vollmer F, Gow NAR (2020). Biosensors and Diagnostics for Fungal Detection. Journal of Fungi, 6(4), 349-349. Abstract.
Malavia D, Crawford A, Wilson D (2017). Nutritional Immunity and Fungal Pathogenesis: the Struggle for Micronutrients at the Host-Pathogen Interface. Adv Microb Physiol, 70, 85-103. Abstract.  Author URL.
Malavia D, Lehtovirta-Morley LE, Alamir O, Weiß E, Gow NAR, Hube B, Wilson D (2017). Zinc Limitation Induces a Hyper-Adherent Goliath Phenotype in Candida albicans. Front Microbiol, 8 Abstract.  Author URL.

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