Anti-fungal drugs

The role of mitochondria in fungal pathogenesis

Candida albicans is one of the fungal species most commonly causing life threatening infections in vulnerable patients. Our group is studying the mitochondria in Candida albicans cells.

Just like in our cells the mitochondria are the batteries of the cell, producing energy required for growth and in fungal cells can also influence infection.

The mitochondria can influence components of the fungal cell wall and its ability to infect us.

If we understand how mitochondria are influencing these factors, we can develop new anti-fungals or we can use existing anti-fungals in new combinations in order to tackle life threatening infections.

Lucian Duvenage works in Dr Campbell Gourlay's lab at the University of Kent

Aspergillus fumigatus, a mold hard to kill

We all breathe into our lungs thousands of fungal spores every single day and among them we encounter Aspergillus fumigatus spores. Fortunately our immune system is extremely good at killing these spores. However, if the individual’s immune system is not working properly Aspergillus fumigatus can survive and become life-threatening.

Unfortunately there are few anti-fungal drugs available to treat this killing machine and understanding of how they work is a limited.

Using advanced time-lapse microscopy I have been studying the main cellular adaptations that allows Aspergillus fumigatus to overcome the attack of caspofungin, a commonly used anti-fungal drug.

My research will provide a better understanding of the way in which caspofungin works in inhibiting Aspergillus fumigatus growth and infection. And this might provide new insights into how the design of novel anti-fungal drugs might be improved.

Sergio Valasquez works in Professor Nick Read's lab at the University of Manchester.