Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Cell & Molecular Biology (PhD)

Degree Level



Plant Pathology


Martin Egan

Committee Member

Erf, Gisela

Second Committee Member

Pinto, Ines

Third Committee Member

Wang, Yong


Aggregate, Aspergillosis, Aspergillus, Cytoskeleton, Endosome, Mycology


The genetic tractability and eukaryotic nature of fungi have led to their long history as an invaluable tool for the understanding of basic cell biology or as models for specific diseases. Unfortunately, they themselves also have also proven to be highly successful pathogens of many organisms, including humans. The three studies contained within this dissertation each touch upon a different aspect of this range of interactions between humans and filamentous fungi. The first study used Aspergillus nidulans to further our basic understanding of the role of dynein in nuclear division, finding that activated dynein localizes to the spindle pole body in a cell-cycle dependent manner. The second study sought to understand the importance of early endosome motility to the pathogenicity of the devastating human pathogen A. fumigatus. Though motility was not found to be important for pathogenicity in a larval infection model, it did play a role in hyphal branching in response to physical obstacles. The final study uses the long, polar cells of A. nidulans as a model to help us better understand the sequestration and clearance of misfolded proteins, a process that—when impaired in neurons—can lead to deadly diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This study produced a list of potential novel interacting proteins for the heat shock protein Hsp104 and found that Hsp104 confers a greater survival benefit after extreme heat shock than does AtgHAtg8. It also observed the short, directional motility of small VHL aggregates with early endosomes.

Available for download on Saturday, February 13, 2027