My project focuses on one of the most common fungal species Candida which affects around 85 million people each year. We have recently discovered a new toxin found to be produced by this fungus called Candidalysin.
Interestingly Candidalysin is only produced when the fungus is in its active form when it's able to infect and penetrate deep into tissues.
We've also shown that Candidalysin is also directly responsible for the cell damage and inflammation observed during infection although the mechanisms are currently unknown.
Our aim therefore is to identify interactions between Candidalysin and the human host to understand how this toxin is able to exert its effects. This will inform as to how we might manipulate these effects leading to the generation of a protective antifungal responses.
Identification of such interactions could significantly enhance anti-candida treatments particularly in at risk patient groups where infections can be fatal.
Dr Jemima Ho works in Dr Julian Naglik's lab at King's College London.