Biological and biophysical characterisation of peptide toxins in pathogenic fungi

Julian Naglik (primary)
Centre for Host Microbiome Interactions
King's College London
Stefan Howorka (secondary)
Department of Chemistry


Pathogenic fungi are a relentless threat to human health and the global impact of invasive fungal infections on healthcare regimens is of major concern. Understanding how fungal pathogens cause disease is of paramount importance. We have identified a novel panel of peptide toxins in several medically relevant fungal pathogens. A cross-disciplinary approach will be used to characterise the role of selected peptide toxins in fungal pathogenicity using a combination of biological, cellular and biophysical techniques. This PhD project will significantly advance our understanding of fungal infections and create future avenues of therapeutic intervention.


Moyes DL et al. (2016). Candidalysin is a fungal peptide toxin critical for mucosal infection. Nature 532, 64-68
Richardson JP et al. (2018). Processing of Candida albicans Ece1p is critical for Candidalysin maturation and fungal virulence. MBio. 9 (1), e02178-17
Ho J et al. (2019). Candidalysin activates epithelial innate immune responses via epidermal growth factor receptor. Nature Communications. 10 (1), 2297
Birkholz O et al. (2018). Multi-functional DNA nanostructures that puncture and remodel lipid membranes into hybrid materials. Nature Communications 9: 1521
Howorka S (2017). Building membrane nanopores. Nature Nanotechnology 12: 619-630

Plants, microbes, food and sustainability
Area of Biology
Cell BiologyMicrobiology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBiophysicsChemistryGeneticsMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular Biology