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 Theresa Wacker

Theresa Wacker

PhD student

 Geoffrey Pope 328

 

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

Overview

I am a PhD candidate working within the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology. Under the supervision of Dr. Rhys Farrer, I look at epigenetic and genetic changes related to virulence and adaptation in human fungal pathogens, with a focus on Cryptococcus sp..
I concentrate on the computational analysis of ChIP-, DNA and RNA-Seq data.

Qualifications

MSc Microbiology and Biochemistry, MRes Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology

Research group links

Research

Research interests

Fungal invasive infections are responsible for around 1.5 million deaths per year, even exceeding the number of fatalities related to tuberculosis or malaria.

The basidiomycetous yeast Cryptococcus is an opportunistic pathogenic fungus and one of the four genera causing the vast majority of deaths attributable to fungi, together with Candida, Aspergillus and Pneumocystis. It can cause pulmonary infections but also life-threatening infections of the central nervous system, mainly in immunocompromised individuals.

Epigenetic modifications provide one fast and flexible way to adapt to environmental stresses, such as the hosts immune response. They are heritable, but also rapidly reversible, and as such play a significant role in virulence and adaptation of the fungus.

In my project, I investigate the epigenetic and genetics underpinning human fungal pathogens, with a focus on Cryptococcus. Throughout my PhD, I will investigate changes in the chromatin landscape, as well as genomic changes in these pathogens to unravel mechanisms of adaptation and virulence.

In a separate project, I also research genome architecture and evolution of the chytrid Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans.

Research projects

The genetics and epigenetics underpinning a broad spectrum of human fungal pathogens.

Teaching

Supervision / Group

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