Fungal biology case study

Antifungal potency of the airway epithelium in health.

The problem

Fungal spores represent a major component of the multitude of noxious inhaled particles continually assaulting human lungs. Our work focuses on the epithelial interactions with inhaled respiratory pathogens, particularly fungal spores and the critical role of these events, especially phagocytosis, in health and disease. Moreover, we wish to understand how these interactions affect communication with other components of human immune and inflammatory cascades underlying disease.

The work

The overall aim is to obtain first-in-field mechanistic insights into curative and dysfunctional epithelial responses following uptake of fungal spores, in particular of the common, yet fatal, environmental mould Aspergillus fumigatus.

To acquire a full mechanistic understanding of fungal-epithelial interactions and how these influence immune responses and are dysregulated in disease, we will:

  • exploit single-cell technologies, together with
  • transcriptional and immunological analyses of the fungal-epithelial interaction in vitro, ex vivo and in primary cells from at-risk patients in order to
  • translate this knowledge into human benefit.