Dr Elizabeth Ballou

Elizabeth Ballou, PhD, is a fungal geneticist and cell biologist investigating how human fungal pathogens integrate environmental signals to change morphology and cause disease. She obtained a PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University, USA, where she demonstrated the role of conserved Rho-GTPases in Cryptococcus neoformans morphogenesis and thermotolerance. In 2012, she joined the Aberdeen Fungal Group, where she demonstrated the ability of Candida albicans to mask cell wall PAMPs in response to host signals. In 2015, through a BBSRC Future Leaders Fellowship, she returned her focus to Cryptococcus, demonstrating that the yeast-to-titan switch is mediated by bacterial peptidoglycan. In 2017 she moved to the University of Birmingham, where her lab, funded by a Wellcome Trust Henry Dale Fellowship, investigates molecular mechanisms underlying titanisation, particularly during host adaptation and drug resistance. Members of her group also investigate how bacterial endosymbionts drive pathogenesis in Mucorales species.

Area of Research: Fungal pathogenesis, molecular biology, cell biology