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 environmental fungi such as Aspergillus fumigatus, Fusarium spp, and Rhizopus spp are able to cause human disease and acquire drug resistance using a combination of experimental and computational approaches. In particular, we focus on:

  • The ecological interactions that shape human pathogenicity in environmental fungi
  • The genomic and phenotypic relationship between environmental and clinical isolates of human fungal pathogens
  • Uncovering novel mechanisms of antifungal resistance

We are part of the Institute of Microbiology at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany and the DFG Excellence Cluster Balance of the Microverse.

group photo