Fungal Informatics

Junior research group at the Leibniz–HKI

We study how ecological interactions shape fungal pathogenicity in humans using experimental and computational approaches.

About the group

Fungi are a diverse group of organisms that play critical roles in ecological recycling and industrial production, but are also the causative agents of plant and animal disease. Human fungal infections, in particular, are an underappreciated problem and are responsible for more deaths each year than tuberculosis or malaria (source: While a few fungal species have evolved to be human commensals, the vast majority of fungi, including those that are able to infect humans, have lifestyles largely independent of the human environments they cause disease in. Our goal is to understand how, in the absence of evolutionary selection, environmental fungi such as Aspergillus fumigatus, Fusarium spp, and Rhizopus spp are able to cause human disease using a combination of experimental and computational approaches. In particular, we focus on:

  • The ecological interactions, including in microbial communities, that shape human pathogenicity of environmental fungi
  • The genomic and phenotypic relationship between environmental and clinical isolates of human fungal pathogens
  • Using comparative genomics and machine learning to understand fungal lifestyle and pathogenicity

We are located at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute in Jena, Germany as part of the Systems Biology and Bioinformatics department.

The group is supported by the DFG Excellence Cluster Balance of the Microverse.



Group Leader

PhD Student

Additionally, we share office space and infrastructure, as well as hold joint lab meetings, with the Systems Biology and Bioinformatics group at the Leibniz-HKI.

Recent Publications

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Candida auris in Germany and previous exposure to foreign healthcare

The emerging yeast Candida auris has disseminated worldwide. We report on 7 cases identified in Germany during 2015-2017. In 6 of these …

Join us

Open positions, when available, will be listed here. PhD and postdoc positions are typically announced via the lab’s twitter, as well as advertised through common academic job portals.

If you are a prospective members with independent funding or interested in applying for fellowships, please get in touch with your CV and a description of your interest in the group.