Prof. Helene Eisenman Barbour

Helene Eisenman Barbour

Assistant Professor of Microbiology

Phone: 646 660-6252

Location: 17 Lexington Ave, room 506B


I was born and raised in New York City, but decided to travel away from home for my education. I received my B.A. in Biology from Grinnell College in Iowa. As a college student I was first exposed to laboratory research and found that I enjoyed the hands-on aspect of doing science. I decided to continue my science education and went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school, where I earned a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology.

Upon returning from the Midwest, I spent several years as a Research Fellow at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. At Einstein I began to study the biology of melanized fungi, the subject of my current research.


My research interests focus on fundamental questions in the biology of melanotic fungi. Melanins are a family of related compounds that have remarkable physical properties. They are found throughout the natural world and have diverse functions ranging from camouflage and display, to protection from ultraviolet radiation and enhancement of virulence in microbes.

Melanins are found in many fungi, including known pathogens, and play important roles in both pathogenesis and environmental survival. I study melanization in Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungal pathogen that is a relatively frequent cause of disease in immunocompromised individuals.


Microbiology (BIO 4004)
Survey of the Living World (BIO 1003)

Selected Publications

Eisenman, H.C., Frases-Carvajal, S., Nicola, A., Rodrigues, M.L., and Casadevall, A. Vesicle-associated melanization in Cryptococcus neoformans. In Press.

Eisenman, H. C., Mues, M., Weber, S. E., Chaskes, S., Gerfen, G. and Casadevall, A. (2007) Cryptococcus neoformans laccase catalyzes melanin synthesis from both D- and L-DOPA. Microbiology. 153: 3954-3962

Eisenman, H. C., Casadevall, A. and McClelland, E. E. (2007) New Insights on the Pathogenesis of Invasive Cryptococcus neoformans infection. Curr. Infect. Dis. Rep. 9: 457-464.

Garcia-Rivera, J., Eisenman, H. C., Nosanchuk, J. D., Aisen, P., Zaragoza, O., Moadel, T., Dadachova, E. and Casadevall, A. (2005) Comparative analysis of Cryptococcus neoformans acid-resistant particles generated from pigmented cells grown in different laccase substrates. Fungal Genetics and Biology. 42: 989-998.

Eisenman, H. C., Nosanchuk, J. D., Webber, J. B. W., Emerson, R. J., Camesano, T. A., and Casadevall, A. (2005) The microstructure of cell wall-associated melanin in the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Biochemistry. 44: 3683-3693.

The City University of New York