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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

 Melanie Puttnam

Melanie Puttnam

PhD researcher

 Geoffrey Pope 310


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


I first became interested in molecular biology as an undergraduate during a summer placement in Prof. Tuite’s lab at the University of Kent where I worked on “Investigating the spontaneous conversion of [pin-] to [PIN+] in Saccharomyces cerevisiae”. I started my PhD at Imperial College London in 2008, moving down to the University of Exeter in April 2011 to finish my studies when our lab relocated here. My PhD focuses on the response of the pathogenic fungus Candida glabrata to combinatorial stress conditions using transcriptional and functional genomics analyses.


2008: BSc (Hons) in Biology, University of Kent, UK.

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Research projects

PhD Thesis

Combinatorial stress response of the fungal pathogen Candida glabrata


Professor Ken Haynes

Research Interests

Candida glabrata is an opportunistic human fungal pathogen. It has an increasing incidence, being the second most common cause of Candidiasis, after C. albicans, as well as increased resistance to antifungal drug therapies resulting in high mortality rates. For pathogenic organisms, stress response plays an important role in the successful colonisation of a host and stress response proteins have been linked to virulence. Previous studies have only focused on the response to independent stressors and as such, little is known about the adaptive response to simultaneous stresses, even though it is likely to be more relevant in an ecological and pathophysiological setting e.g. upon macrophage engulfment.

Transcriptional analyses under hyperosmotic and oxidative stress, conducted singly and in combination over a timecourse, have given biological insight into the initial response as well as the adaptation of C. glabrata to growth under stress. Functional genomics studies have identified novel components of stress response pathways in C. glabrata, as well as helping to characterise gene function in a largely un-annotated organism.
My PhD is part of the Combinatorial Response in Stress Pathways (CRISP) project; a collaboration between Exeter, Imperial and Aberdeen, funded by the BBSRC through the SABR (Systems Approaches to Biological Research) initiative.


Kaloriti D, Tillmann A, Cook E, Jacobsen M, You T, Lenardon M, Ames L, Barahona M, Chandrasekaran K, Coghill G, Goodman D, Gow NA, Grebogi C, Ho HL, Ingram P, McDonagh A, Moura AP, Pang W, Puttnam M, Radmaneshfar E, Romano MC, Silk D, Stark J, Stumpf M, Thiel M, Thorne T, Usher J, Yin Z, Haynes K, Brown AJ. (2012) Combinatorial stresses kill pathogenic Candida species. Medical Mycology.

Oral Presentations:

The transcriptional response of the fungal pathogen Candida glabrata to combinatorial stress, April 2012 at the American Society of Microbiology’s Candida and Candidiasis Conference, San Francisco, USA. Awarded an ASM Student Travel Grant.

Poster Presentations:

Bristish Mycological Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting, University of Exeter, UK September 2011

Wellcome Trust Functional Genomics and Systems Biology, Cambridge, UK December 2011

FEBS Human Fungal Pathogens, Nice, France May 2011. Awarded a Youth Travel Fund fellowship

American Society of Microbiology Candida and Candidiasis, Miami, USA March 2010

MMEMS workshop, Evolution of Stress Responses, University of Aberdeen, UK September 2009

Dynamics in Systems Biology, University of Aberdeen, UK, September 2009

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