Christina M. Hull

Credentials: Virulence and development of human fungal pathogens

Position title: Professor (also Professor of Medical Microbiology & Immunology)


Phone: (608) 265-5441

5204B Biochemical Sciences Building
440 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706

The Hull Lab Website

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

2003 American Society for Cell Biology, Merton Bernfield Memorial Award and Presentation
2003 Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences
2003 BWF/Committee for the Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau Award
2004 UW/HHMI, Career Development Start-Up Award
2005 March of Dimes, Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award
2005 UW Medical Education Research Committee, New Investigator Award
2006 American Society for Microbiology, Merck Irving S. Sigal Memorial Award
2010 UW Women in Science & Engineering Institute, Vilas Life Cycle Professorship
2015 Hartwell Foundation, Individual Biomedical Research Award
2017 HHMI, Gilliam Fellowship Mentor
2023 UW SMPH Women in Medicine and Science Excellence in Mentorship Award

Research Summary

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).


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