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PhD projects

The genetic and/or epigenetic nature of anti-fungal drug tolerance in Candida glabrata.

Link to application below.


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Focus

My research aims to answer this fundamental question; how does genome architecture influence an organism’s ability to respond to, and more importantly adapt to, its environment. In its simplest form, this means examining chromatin based mechanisms of gene expression regulation. On evolutionary time scales, it involves asking whether changes to chromatin architecture can dictate evolutionary trajectories. 

We use single celled yeast species from the Saccharomycotina subphylum to answer these questions, which includes the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the pathogenic yeasts Candida spp. species.

The three distinct approaches we use in the lab are:

  1. Experimental evolution of S. cerevisiae  to determine how changes in histone proteins, the building blocks of eukaryotic chromatin, influences the ability of this yeast to adapt to novel environments.
  2. Reverse genetics (CRISPR-Cas9) of the human pathogen Candida glabrata to ascertain the contribution of histone modification pathways to the emergence of virulent traits in this species, including phenotypic plasticity and anti-fungal resistance. (Figure 1)
  3. Comparative epigenomics of Candida spp. to probe the conservation of histone modification marks between human fungal pathogens.


The lab is currently accepting PhD applications in the field of antifungal resistance & tolerance.

Click here to apply


Figure 1: Theoretical epigenetic and genetic combination model to explain fungal growth and the evolution of antifungal resistance in the presence of high concentration of antiungal drug. Taken from O'Kane et al, 2020 Journal of Fungi




2015-present:Lecturer in Biochemistry, Queen’s University Belfast (UK) 

2014-2015:Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioinformatics, Dr. Mary O’Connell, Dublin City University (Ireland)

2009-2014: Charles A. King Postdoctoral Fellow in Bacterial Evolution, Prof Andrew Murray, Harvard University (USA)

2008-2009: Postdoctoral Fellow in Chromatin Biology, Prof Jef Boeke, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (USA)

2002-2008: PhD Student, Biochemistry Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (USA)  PhD Advisor: Prof  Jef. Boeke. Thesis:  “Probing the Multifaceted Functions of the S. cereviasie Nucleosome”

2001-2002: Visiting Research Fellow in Bacteriophage Biochemistry, Prof Charles C. Richardson, Harvard Medical School (USA)

1996-2000: Undergraduate in Biochemistry. Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) 



I coordinate the following modules in the School of Biological Sciences :

Stage 2 Undergraduates: BIO2102 Experimental Biochemistry

MSc Post-graduates: BBC8039 Protein Structure & Function

I also teach on the following courses:

Stage 1 Undergraduates:

BIO1304 Molecular Basis of Life; Topics: Lipids & Carbohydrates, Clinical Biochemistry, Synthetic Biology, Drug design, Practical lab: Titration of an amino acid.

BIO1301 World of Microorganisms; Topic: Fungal Biology, Practical lab: Enumeration of microorganisms.

Stage 3 Undergaduates:

BIO3304 Biomolecules in Health & Disease; Topic: Chromatin Biology & Epigenetics


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


Dive into the research topics where Edel Hyland is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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