Christina M. Hull
Professor (also Medical Microbiology & Immunology)
5204B Biochemical Sciences Building
440 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706
• B.S. 1992, University of Utah
• Ph.D. 2000, University of California – San Francisco (A.D. Johnson)
• Postdoctoral 2000-2003, Duke University (J. Heitman)
Honors & Awards
• Honors Baccalaureate Award for Graduate Studies, University of Utah, 1992
• Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fund Fellowship, 2001-2003
• Merton Bernfield Memorial Award, American Society for Cell Biology, 2002
• Bell Basic Science Research Award, Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2002
• Armstrong Fellowship, Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2003
• Burroughs Wellcome Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences, 2003-2008
• March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Research Award, 2005-2007
• MERC New Investigator Award, UW Madison, 2005-2007
• Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award, American Society for Microbiology, 2006
• Hartwell Foundation Biomedical Research Award, 2015-2018
Fungi are critical organisms in virtually all ecosystems on Earth, but as a group, they are very poorly understood. The mechanisms by which fungi reproduce and interact with their environments (including human hosts) are largely unknown. Nowhere are the consequences of this lack of understanding more apparent than in human disease. Fungi now represents the fourth most common cause of hospital-acquired infection, and therapeutic options for treating severe disease are extremely limited.
Research in my laboratory focuses on three broad areas: 1) understanding the molecular mechanisms that control fungal development and sporulation, 2) elucidating the basic properties of spores that allow them to be infectious particles, and 3) developing interventions to prevent and/or treat severe fungal diseases.
We use the meningitis-causing environmental fungus Cryptococcus as a model for our studies. Cryptococcus causes several hundred thousand deaths per year worldwide. Among the human fungal pathogens, Cryptococcus is the most amenable to laboratory analysis and represents a relatively facile system for the study of fungal development and virulence.
Using biochemical, genetic, molecular, cell biological, and bioengineering approaches we are determining the basic processes and mechanisms important for Cryptococcus to undergo sexual development (gene regulation, protein-DNA interactions, transcriptional networks), determining the resistance, growth, and molecular properties of spores (cell differentiation, developmental biology), and investigating how spores interact with mammalian hosts in vitro and in mice (infection, virulence).
Publications of Note
Complete List of Published Work for Dr. Hull in MyBibliography (click on link).
• Rank, L.A., F.Y. Lim, N.M. Walsh, N.P. Keller, S.H. Gellman, and C.M. Hull (2018) Peptide-like nylon-3 polymers with activity against phylogenetically diverse, intrinsically drug resistant pathogenic fungi. mSphere. 3(3): e00204-17.
• McDermott A.J., T.A. Tumey, M. Huang, C.M. Hull, and B.S. Klein (2017) Inhaled Cryptococcus neoformans elicits allergic airway inflammation independent of Nuclear Factor Kappa B signaling in lung epithelial cells. Immunology 153(4):513-522.
• Rank, L.A., N.M. Walsh, R. Liu, F.Y. Lim, J.W. Bok, M. Huang, N.P. Keller, S.H. Gellman, and C.M. Hull (2017) A cationic polymer that shows high antifungal activity against diverse human pathogens. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 61(10):e00204-17.
• Huang, M. and C.M. Hull (2017) Sporulation: How to survive on planet Earth (and beyond). Current Genetics 63(5):831-838.
• Walsh, N.M., M. Wuthrich, H. Wang, B. Klein, and C.M. Hull (2017) Characterization of C-type lectins reveals an unexpectedly limited interaction between Cryptococcus neoformans spores and Dectin-1. PLoS ONE 12(3):e0173866.
• Davis, J.M., M. Huang, M.R. Botts, C.M. Hull, and A. Huttenlocher (2016) A zebrafish model of cryptococcal infection reveals roles for macrophages, endothelial cells, and neutrophils in the establishment and control of sustained fungemia. Infection and Immunity 84(10):3047-62.
• Mead, M.E. and C.M. Hull (2016) Transcriptional control of Cryptococcus development. Journal of Microbiology 54(5):339-46.
• Barkal, L., N.M. Walsh, D.J. Beebe, and C.M. Hull (2016) Leveraging a high resolution microfluidic assay reveals insights into pathogenic fungal spore germination. Integrative Biology 8(5): 603-15.
• Huang, M., A. S. Hebert, J. J. Coon, and C.M. Hull (2015) Protein composition of infectious spores reveals novel sexual development and germination factors in Cryptococcus. PLoS Genetics 11(8):e1005490.
• Mead ME, Stanton BC, Kruzel EK, Hull CM (2015) Targets of the Sex Inducer homeodomain proteins are required for fungal development and virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans. Molecular Microbiology 95(5):804-18.
• Botts MR, Huang M, Borchardt RK, Hull CM (2014) Developmental cell fate and virulence are linked to trehalose homeostasis in Cryptococcus neoformans. Eukaryotic Cell 13(9):1158-68.