BA University of Cambridge 1987; PhD University of Cambridge 1991; Research Associate, University of Nottingham 1991-1996; BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow 1996-2001; Australian Antarctic Division Expeditioner 1999-2000; Lecturer, University of Nottingham 2002-present. 'Berkeley Award¹ (1999) from British Mycological Society for outstanding contribution to mycology/pathology research.
Fungal Biology and Genetics.
Contribute teaching to the following modules (courses):
Genes, Molecules and Cells (LIFE1029 UNUK)
Microbial Biotechnology (LIFE2020 UNUK)
Pathogens (LIFE3035 UNUK)
Molecular Plant Pathology (BIOS3002 UNUK)
Core Skills in Biology (LIFE1042 UNUK FYR)
Year 3 Research Project (LIFE3022 UNUK)
Sexual Reproduction in Fungi
Investigation of molecular and physiological processes controlling sexual reproduction in ascomycete fungi. The overall aim is to understand the evolution of sexuality and asexuality in fungi, both from a fundamental and a practical perspective such that the sexual cycle can be manipulated as a valuable tool for species of biotechnological and medical significance. A variety of experimental techniques are being used, including those of classical genetics, molecular biology and genomics. Particular aims are (a) to identify mating-type (MAT) genes determining sexual compatibility from plant and human pathogenic fungi and species used in biotechnology, results will be of use in studies of mating-type distribution, design of diagnostic kits, and understanding of the role of MAT genes in sexuality ; (b) to identify downstream genes involved with sexual reproduction such as pheromone and signaling pathway genes, and assess their role, together with MAT genes, in the evolution of asexuality in fungi; (c) to investigate hormonal factors triggering and co-ordinating the sexual cycle and determine whether they may be useful as fungal growth regulators. Current studies are focused on species from the genus Aspergillus and Penicillium, with an especial interest in the role of the sexual cycle in the evolution of the opportunistic pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.
Sexual reproductive apothecia of the cereal pathogen Tapesia
Sexual ascospores of Aspergillus nidulans (S. Champe)
Population Biology of Fungi including Lichens
Molecular markers such as randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPDs), specific gene sequences, and ribosomal DNA sequences are being used to examine breeding systems and the extent of population variation within species of pathogenic fungi and lichens. DNA fingerprinting studies are in progress with temperate plant pathogens, medical pathogens, species used in the biotechnology, and lichens from both temperate regions and the Antarctic (in collaboration with Drs. P. Crittenden and M. Dickinson). Results are of signifcance in understanding biodiversity within fungal populations, with possible implications for the ability of species to withstand climate change.
The lichens Buellia frigida and Caloplaca saxicola from the Antarctic
Example of DNA fingerprinting of lichens using RAPD PCR
The importance of non-genotypic variation is being assessed for the survival of yeast populations subject to environmental stressors (in collaboration with Dr Simon Avery)
Fungicide Resistance and Molecular Diagnostics in the Cereal Eyespot Fungus Tapesia
Tapesia species are responsible for causing eyespot disease of cereals which can lead to a significant loss in yield. Studies are in progress to determine the molecular genetic basis of fungicide resistance in these fungi, to develop species-specific molecular diagnostic markers, and to study the molecular basis of evolution of Tapesia species.
Classic symptoms of eyespot disease on stem base of wheat plant
Phenotypic variation in sexual progeny of Tapesia species
Newly available fungal genomic resources are being used for bioinformatic and post-genomic experimental work, in order to investigate the genetic basis of traits of interest such as genes controlling sexual developmental processes. In addition the USA Joint Genomes Institute has provide funding to allow the genome sequencing, for the first time, of a lichen forming fungus. The genome programme for Xanthoria parietina is being co-ordinated from Nottingham (in collaboration with Prof David Archer and Dr Peter Crittenden).
Thallus of the lichen Xanthoria parietina
Acknowledgements Work is supported by project grants from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK), the Natural Environment Research Council (UK), the Wellcome Trust, and the European Union.
Research Collaborators Dr Peter Crittenden, Dr Matt Dickinson, Prof. David Archer, Dr Simon Avery.
BÖHM, J., HOFF, B., O'GORMAN, C.M., WOLFERS, S., KLIX, V., BINGER, D., ZADRA, I., KÜRNSTEINER, H., PÖGGELER, S., DYER, P.S. and KÜCK, U., 2013. Sexual reproduction and mating-type-mediated strain development in the penicillin-producing fungus Penicillium chrysogenum Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110(4), 1476–1481 DYER PS and O'GORMAN CM, 2011. A fungal sexual revolution: Aspergillus and Penicillium show the way Current Opinion in Microbiology. 13, 1-6
SUGUI JA, LOSADA L, WANG W, VARGA J, NGAMSKULRUNGROJ P, ABU-ASAB M, CHANG YC, O'GORMAN CM, WICKES BL, NIERMAN WC, DYER PS and KWON-CHUNG KJ, 2011. Identification And Characterization Of An Aspergillus Fumigatus "Supermater" Pair. Mbio. 2(6),