Anna Muszewska, PhD, DSc

Laboratory of Fungal Bioinformatics

Position: Assistant Professor

ORCID: 0000-0002-4578-844X


Web of Science: JFS-3455-2023

ResearchGate: Link

Research Scope

We trace genomic changes across branches of the fungal tree of life. We also study the relationship between the genome composition and the ecology of the organism.


Main Scientific Achievements

  • We confirmed several peculiarities of Mucoromycotina including lipid production, carbon utilization profiles, cell wall sugar composition which make them distinct from Ascomycota and support the idea of independent ways of infection treatment.
  • We discovered the utilization of cobalamin in basal fungal lineages.
  • We have found tendencies for transposon accumulation in plant-associated fungi and symbiotic fungi.
  • We confirmed that HGT favours short, low LCR sequences and occur more often in symbiotic fungi.
  • We found that lipids are essential in diverse fungal interactions with other organisms.

Research Description

  • Summary of research

The life strategies of known fungi are very diverse; they can be saprotrophs, pathogens and symbionts. The ability to enter into various interactions with the environment and to adapt flexibly to environmental conditions is determined genetically. Our bioinformatic research carried out on a large scale, covering hundreds of genomes and predicted proteomes, uncovered many correlations between the set of genes/transposons in the genome and the ecology of the fungus. The obtained results showed that adaptation to a given lifestyle may result from the presence of as little as a small subset of enzymes/regions encoded in fungal genomes. In the future, these findings could lead to predictions of ecological properties, including infectiousness potential directly from genomic data. Moreover, they can contribute to the possibility of obtaining novel engineered fungi equipped with a tailored gene set towards a new ecological niche or industrial application.

  • Research topics

We work on the synthesis of currently fragmented knowledge on diverse traits in Mucoromycota. One of the lasting scientific interests is genome content, organization changes across the tree of life and protein-coding sequence evolution. In collaboration with Dr Julia Pawłowska (University of Warsaw) we study bacteria-fungi interactions.


We use Pfam protein domain definitions as the golden standard and starting point in describing a protein domain/non-domain characters. We benefit from the FungalTraits database (Põlme et al. 2020) describing the ecological and morphological features of Fungi as well as expert knowledge. We provide distant mappings for protein domains using FFAS03 and HH-suite3 fold recognition methods. We integrate annotations from functional databases like SGD, MetaCyc, KEGG, STRING, SEED, InterPro, CaZy, MEROPS, MiBig.

Selected Publications

  • Utilization of cobalamin is ubiquitous in early-branching fungal phyla. Orłowska M, Steczkiewicz K, Muszewska A. Genome Biology and Evol. 2021. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evab043.
  • Metabolic Potential, Ecology and Presence of Associated Bacteria Is Reflected in Genomic Diversity of Mucoromycotina. Muszewska A, Okrasińska A, Steczkiewicz K, Drgas O, Orłowska M, Perlińska-Lenart U, Aleksandrzak-Piekarczyk T, Szatraj K, Zielenkiewicz U, Piłsyk S, Malc E, Mieczkowski P, Kruszewska JS, Bernat P, Pawłowska J. Front Microbiol. 2021. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.636986.
  • Transposable elements contribute to fungal genes and impact fungal lifestyle. Muszewska A, Steczkiewicz K, Stepniewska-Dziubinska M, Ginalski K. Sci Rep. 2019. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40965-0.
  • Cut and paste transposons in fungi with diverse lifestyles. Muszewska A, Steczkiewicz K, Stepniewska-Dziubinska M, Ginalski K. Genome Biol Evol. 2017. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evx261.
  • Fungal lifestyle reflected in serine protease repertoire. Muszewska A, Stepniewska-Dziubinska MM, Steczkiewicz K, Pawlowska J,Dziedzic A, Ginalski K. Sci Rep. 2017. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09644-w.


  • Julia Pawłowska, Department of Biology, University of Warsaw
  • Paweł Górecki, MIM, Univestity of Warsaw
  • Przemysław Bernat, Department of Biology, University of Łódź
  • Krzysztof Pawłowski, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Grzegorz Koczyk, IGR PAS
  • Kerstin Voigt, HKI Jena
  • Andrii Gryganskyi, UES, Inc. USA
  • Ekaterina Shelest, University of Portsmouth
  • Bridget Barker, Northern Arizona University
  • Marcus Teixeira, University of Brasília

Prizes and Awards

  • Anna Muszewska. Habilitation Fellowship of L’Oréal Poland for Women in Science. 2018. L’Oréal Polska, Poland.
  • Anna Muszewska. Scholarship for Outstanding Young Scientists. 2014. Minister of Science and Higher Education, Poland.

Publications (IBB PAS affiliated)


  • Anna Muszewska, PhD, DSc, Head of Laboratory, ORCID: 0000-0002-4578-844X
  • Magdalena Płecha, PhD, Employee
  • Drishtee Barua, PhD Student
  • Aleksander Kossakowski, PhD Student


  • Ancestral traits and genomic innovations in early diverging fungi - implications for mucormycosis. Anna Muszewska. OPUS 21, National Science Center, 2022-2026.