Marcia David Palma, PhD

Heitman Lab

Post-Doctoral Associate
Box 3546
317 CARL Building
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: 919-684-0278
Fax: 919-684-2790


Research Interest: I obtained my Doctorate degree in Biology, specializing in Molecular Genetics at FCT-UNL, Portugal. My thesis focused on the molecular characterization of the homothallic life cycle of a basidiomycete fungus (Phaffia rhodozyma) through genetic engineering and comparative genomics. That work allowed, for the first time, the elucidation of the basic molecular mechanisms governing the life cycle of a primary homothallic basidiomycete. My research interests include the characterization of reproductive systems in basidiomycetes, with special focus in homothallism, both in its molecular characterization and its evolutionary impact. I’m also interested in the molecular mechanisms by which transitions between homothallic and heterothallic mating behaviors may occur in the Basidiomycota.  At the Heitman lab I will be mainly focusing on the elucidation of unisexual reproduction within the Cryptococcus species complex.

Personal Interests: In addition to Science in general, I’m interested in the visual arts, specially Photography and Painting. I also enjoy reading, swimming and hiking.

Publications List:

Cabrita A, David-Palma M, Brito PH, Heitman J, Coelho MA, Gonçalves P. Multiple Pathways to Homothallism in Closely Related Yeast Lineages in the Basidiomycota. mBio. 2021;12(1):e03130-20. doi: 10.1128/mBio.03130-20. 

 David-Palma M, Libkind D, Brito PH, Silva M, Bellora N, Coelho MA, Heitman J, Gonçalves P, Sampaio JP: The untapped Australasian diversity of astaxanthin-producing yeasts with biotechnological potential- Phaffia australis sp. nov. and Phaffia tasmanica sp. nov. Microorganisms 2020, 8(11). 

Sun S, Coelho MA, David-Palma M, Priest SJ, Heitman J: The evolution of sexual reproduction and the mating-type Locus: links to pathogenesis of Cryptococcus human pathogenic fungi. Annual review of Genetics 2019, 53:417-444. 

Fu C, Coelho MA, David-Palma M, Priest SJ, Heitman J: Genetic and genomic evolution of sexual reproduction: echoes from LECA to the fungal kingdom. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 2019, 58-59:70-75.