Christina Hull

Position title: Professor


Biomolecular Chemistry and Medical Microbiology & Immunology
The goal of the Hull Laboratory is to understand how eukaryotic pathogen development and differentiation intersect with human disease. We take a hypothesis-driven experimental approach to discover the molecular mechanisms by which the model pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus reproduces and ultimately causes fatal meningitis. Students and post-docs in the lab are encouraged to work across disciplines to explore diverse aspects of biology to solve meaningful and challenging problems in biomedicine.

Biomolecular Chemistry and Medical Microbiology & Immunology
Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco; Postdoctoral Fellowship, Duke University

Research Description:
The Hull Lab focuses on the basic biology of human fungal pathogens. We use the meningitis-causing environmental fungus Cryptococcus as a model for our studies of fungal sexual development, spore germination, and fungal pathogenesis.

Using biochemical, genetic, molecular, bioinformatic, and cell biological approaches in the Cryptococcus system, we are 1) determining the mechanisms by which Cryptococcus undergoes sexual development (assessing gene regulation, protein-DNA interactions, and transcriptional networks), 2) discovering the resistance, growth, and fundamental properties of spores (evaluating dormancy, germination, and cell differentiation), identifying and characterizing novel inhibitors of fungal pathways (carrying out high-throughput screening and drug development), and investigating how spores and yeast interact with host cells in culture and in vivo (parsing host-pathogen interactions and virulence pathways).

Representative Publications:
Search PubMed for more publications by Christina Hull

Eagan, J.L., B.N. Steffan, S.C. Ortiz, M.T. Drott, G.H. Goldman, C.M. Hull, N.P. Keller, R.W. Bastos. 2022. Inadvertent selection of a pathogenic fungus highlights areas of concern in human clinical practices. Journal of Fungi. In press.

Frerichs, A.B., M. Huang, S.C. Ortiz, and C.M. Hull. 2022. Methods for manipulating Cryptococcus spores. Journal of Fungi 8(1): 10.3390/jof8010004

Ortiz, S.C., M. Huang, and C.M. Hull. 2021. Discovery of fungal-specific targets and inhibitors using chemical phenotyping of pathogenic spore germination. mBio 12(4):e0167221.

Ortiz, S.C., M. Huang, and C.M. Hull. 2019. Germination as a target for antifungal therapeutics. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 63(12):e00994-19.

Walsh N.M., M.R. Botts, A.J. McDermott, S.C. Ortiz, M. Wuthrich, B.S. Klein, and C.M. Hull. 2019. Infectious particle identity determines dissemination and disease outcome for the inhaled human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus. PLoS Pathogens 15(6):e1007777.

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.

Huang, M. and C.M. Hull. 2017. Sporulation: How to survive on planet Earth (and beyond). Current Genetics 63(5):831-838.

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, M. E., B. C. Stanton, E. K. Kruzel, and C. M. Hull. 2015. Targets of the Sex Inducer homeodomain proteins are required for fungal development and virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans. Molecular Microbiology 95(5): 804-818.