Elaine Bignell is a Reader in Applied Mycology at the University of Manchester (UoM) and Deputy Director of the Manchester Fungal Infection Group (MFIG), a multi-million pound venture funded by UoM in 2013 to strengthen understanding of fungal infection biology. EB has > 20 years of experience in molecular genetic manipulation of model and pathogenic fungi and has worked extensively on transcriptional and post-translational regulation of fungal pH signalling. This work contributed directly to a pioneering body of research published in the late 1990s which described, for the first time in fungi, the mechanistic basis of pH-mediated signalling.
Since 2000, initially funded as an MRC New Investigator, EB has developed murine models of invasive fungal infections and used them to identify fungal processes critical to mammalian infection, including the first and only in-host transcriptomic profiles of Aspergillus fumigatus pathogenic activities. With BBSRC funding (BB/G009619/1) EB established the Af Compendium, the sole public repository of A. fumigatus transcriptome data, (http://cisbic.bioinformatics.ic.ac.uk/aspergillus/) housing > 2 million data points curated over 40 distinct conditions, including murine models of infection. Current research programmes include mechanistic aspects of calcium-mediated signalling in A. fumigatus (Wellcome Trust WT093596MA) and structure-function analysis of a pH-responsive molecular switch required for fungal virulence (MRC:MR/L000822/1).