Research Introduction

Wild type Neurospora growing on a Petri dish

Welcome to the research introduction page.

Below are the different topics studied in our lab.




Programmed Cell Death

Programmed Cell death
Self/nonself discrimination is a ubiquitous and essential function of both multicellular and microbial species. In filamentous fungi, nonself recognition is important during vegetative growth. Hyphal fusion between genetically dissimilar individuals results in rejection of heterokaryon formation and programmed cell death of the fusion compartment, an event analogous to nonself recognition following fusion in colonial marine invertebrates such as Hydractinia and Botryllus. Nonself recognition during heterokaryon formation in filamentous fungi is regulated by genetic loci, termed het (for heterokaryon incompatibility) loci. Heterokaryon incompatibility in filamentous fungi has been shown to reduce the risk of transmission of pathogenic elements, such as infectious virus-like dsRNAs. Among filamentous fungal species, Neurospora crassa is the best model to study nonself recognition via heterokaryon incompatibility.

For further details of our research interests in this area, click "read more".

Bioenergy: Plant Cell Wall Degradation

Bioenergy: Plant Cell Wall Degradation In order to significantly improve plant cell wall degradation and the processing of plant biomass by fungi, we must first understand the principles of these pathways. We are using genetics, genomics and biochemical tools to address these questions, focusing on two related areas: the fungal enzyme secretion pathway and the plant biomass degradation pathway. We are using the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa as a model cellulolytic fungus to address these questions, and subsequently we will extend these results to other cellulolytic fungi, such as Trichoderma reesei (soft-rot), Phanerochaete chrysosporium (white-rot), and Postia placenta (Brown-rot). For further details on this research, click "read more".

Cell Fusion

Fusing germling pair
The ability to form a hyphal network is a hallmark of filamentous fungi. In filamentous ascomycete species such as Neurospora crassa, an individual hypha (a multinucleate, multicellular filament with incomplete crosswalls) grows by hyphal tip extension and branching. Behind the growing colony margin, fusions between hyphae are continuously formed, yielding a network of interconnected hyphae, which make up the fungal individual. Although the capacity to form a network is ubiquitous in filamentous fungi, little is known about how they form and function. Our studies have revealed a complex and carefully regulated biological process. For further details of our research interests in this area, click "read more".