Current PhD students
PhD students Helen Heaney, Dora Corzo Leon, Ambre Chapuis, Stylianos Simantirakis, Dan Larcombe
- BSc Genetics (Honours)1994 - University of AberdeenFirst Class
- PhD Microbiology1999 - University of AberdeenmRNA differential display to investigate yeast-hypha dimorphism in Candida albicans
- PGCert Higher Education Teaching and Learning2004 - University of Aberdeen
- FHEA Education2007 - Higher Education Academy
- FRSB Biology2013 - Royal Society of Biology
Memberships and Affiliations
Skin deep: modelling fungal skin infectionsCatalyst MagazineContributions to Specialist Publications: Articles
General hospital outbreak of invasive candidiasis due to azole-resistant Candida parapsilosis associated with an Erg11 Y132F mutationMedical Mycology, vol. 59, no. 7, pp. 664-671Contributions to Journals: Articles
Host responses in an ex-vivo human skin model challenged with Malassezia sympodialisFrontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, vol. 10, 561382Contributions to Journals: Articles
Three Related Enzymes in Candida albicans Achieve Arginine- and Agmatine-Dependent Metabolism That Is Essential for Growth and Fungal VirulencemBio, vol. 11, no. 4, e01845-20Contributions to Journals: Articles
The environmental stress sensitivities of pathogenic Candida species, including Candida auris, and implications for their spread in the hospital settingMedical Mycology, vol. 58, no. 6, pp. 744-755Contributions to Journals: Articles
Prizes and Awards
Honorary membership of the British Society for Medical Mycology (year)
Principal's Prize for Public Engagement (Public Prize) (year)
My research has centred on investigating fungal pathogenesis and virulence, focussing mainly on the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans and mouse models of infection. It also addresses the 3Rs: Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animals in research, refining infection models and developing new ways to follow infection in animals.
Initially, my research focussed on investigating pathogenesis from the fungal perspective, using experimental infection models to assay the contribution of fungal gene products in virulence. I have also used microarray analyses to compare gene expression in known virulent and attenuated C. albicans clinical isolates, demonstrating that there are few differences under laboratory conditions (Eukaryotic Cell, 2009).
More recently, my research has extended into examining host responses, particularly immune responses, during infection in mice. By examining host responses to different C. albicans clinical isolates, I have demonstrated that low virulence isolates stimulate a lower innate immune response than more virulent isolates and that it is the early host response that determines infection outcome (PLoS One, 2009). A study to determine the early renal transcriptional response during progressive C. albicans infection confirmed the massive induction of innate immune responses (FEMS Yeast Research, 2009).
My major goal is to gain a better understanding of the factors leading to susceptibility to opportunistic fungal infections and to identify crucial events occurring during infection development, which could potentially allow identification of novel clinical management or therapeutic strategies for these infections.
I am currently accepting PhDs in Biomedical Sciences.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
Dr Donna MacCallum is very active in public engagement.
She has contributed school workshops, public lectures and family activities at the University of Aberdeen May Festival for each of the four years that the festival has run (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/mayfestival/).
She is a registered STEM ambassador (http://www.stemnet.org.uk/ambassadors/) and has carried out science workshops in schools. Most recently, she was successful in obtaining a Royal Society Partnership grant with Ms Amanda Kirk of Gilcomstoun Primary School, Aberdeen to carry out a resarch project to investigate whether household cleaners are effective again fungi (2016) (https://royalsociety.org/grants-schemes-awards/grants/partnership-grants/). She was also able to contribute towards Gilcomstoun Primary School's science activities, which contributed to their successful Primary Science Quality Mark Gold Award application (2016).
Dr MacCallum was also awarded one of the first National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) public engagement awards (2016) to talk about how the University of Aberdeen are addressing the 3Rs in their life science research at Doors Open Day 2016 in the Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen.
Dr MacCallum was also successful in being awarded the first Microbiology Society Microbiology in Society Awards (2016) in collaboration with University of Aberdeen Public Engagement Unit (PERU) and Aberdeen Science Centre to produce a new exhibit to explore the human gut microbiota.
Dr MacCallum has also been awarded a Microbiology Society Public Engagement Award (2010) to carry out "germ busting" with nursery children, where the children were shown effective handwashing and their technique was evaluated using UV lamps and fluorescent hand cream.
Dr MacCallum recently also designed and ran a Kids Zone workshop for the Killer Fungus exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London (2016) (https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/summer-science-exhibition/).
She will be taking part in Explorathon 2016 at the Aberdeen Science Centre, explaining the resarch carried out in the Aberdeen Fungal Group at the Kingdom of Fungi exhibit (http://www.explorathon.co.uk/aberdeen/asc).
- Ms. Hazel Bell (Technician)
Current PhD Students
PhD students: Helen Heaney, Dora Corzo Leon, Ambre Chapuis, Stelmos Simantirakis, Dan Larcombe at the Human Fungal Pathogen course in Nice, France.
- Mr Stylianos Simantirakis
- Ms Helen Heaney (Co-supervised by Dr Alan Walker and University of Exeter's Professor Al Brown)
- Mr Dan Larcombe (Co-supervised by University of Exeter's Professor Al Brown)
Completed PhD Students
- Dr Simon Vautier (co-supervised with Professor Gordon Brown) (2013)
- Dr Edina Szabo (primary supervisor) (2014)
- Dr Shane Smith (co-supervised with Dr Carol Munro) (2014)
- Dr Beatrice Achen (Main Supervisor: Professor Janet Quinn, Newcastle University) ()
- Dr Chibuike Ibe (Main supervisor: Professor Carol Munro) (2019)
- Dr Prashant Sood (Main supervisor: Professor Al Brown)
- Dr Ambre Chapuis (co-supervisor Dr Liz Ballou) (2020)
- Dr Dora Corzo Leon (co-supervisor Dr Carol Munro) (2020)
Postgraduate Teaching Academic Lead for the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition
- MSc Microbiology Programme Coordinator (September and January start)
- MRes Medical Sciences (January start)
Undergraduate Teaching (lecturing)
- MC3504 Molecular Microbiology
- IM3502 Applied Immunology - Human Health
- Honours Immunology
- Honours Microbiology
- Honours Project Supervisor
Research Project Supervision
- BSc Honours project supervisor
- MSc/MRes Research Project supervisor
Non-course Teaching Responsibilities
Pastoral support for MSc students
University of Aberdeen Postgraduate Taught committee
University of Aberdeen Directors of Teaching and Learning Group
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Safety aspects of working with Candida albicans-infected miceMedical Mycology, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 305-309Contributions to Journals: Articles
The Candida albicans pH-regulated KER1 gene encodes a lysine/glutamic-acid-rich plasma-membrane protein that is involved in cell aggregationMicrobiology , vol. 150, no. Pt 8, pp. 2641-2651Contributions to Journals: Articles
Influence of grapefruit juice on itraconazole plasma levels in mice and guinea pigsJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 219-224Contributions to Journals: Articles
Efficacy of parenteral itraconazole against disseminated Candida albicans infection in two mouse strainsJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 225-229Contributions to Journals: Articles
NRG1 represses yeast-hypha morphogenesis and hypha-specific gene expression in Candida albicansEMBO Journal, vol. 20, no. 17, pp. 4742-4752Contributions to Journals: Articles