Fungal Catastrophes

Recent events show us how wildlife and their environments play a key role in the emergence of human emerging infectious diseases by providing a 'zoonotic pool' from which previously unknown pathogens emerge. Human action impacts on patterns of disease via the perturbation of natural systems, the introduction, and the spread of pathogens into naive environments, and by rapid natural selection for phenotypes such as resistance to antimicrobial drugs. Whilst this is true of viruses have we taken our eye off the ball when it comes to another kingdom; the fungi?
During this talk, Professor Matthew Fisher, who heads a research group at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College, London, explains his research into the factors driving the current surge in emerging fungal infections. These devastating diseases are occurring in new places, causing new (and exacerbating old) diseases in humans and other animals. But why? Tune in to find out!

About the speaker:

Prof Matthew Fisher works on emerging pathogenic fungi and heads a research group at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London. His research uses an evolutionary framework to investigate the biological and environmental factors that are driving emerging fungal diseases across human, wildlife, and plant species. Wildlife and their environments play a key role in the emergence of human emerging infectious disease (EID) by providing a 'zoonotic pool' from which previously unknown pathogens emerge. Conversely, human action impacts patterns of fungal disease via the perturbation of natural systems, the introduction, and the spread of pathogenic fungi into naive environments, and by rapid natural selection for phenotypes such as resistance to antimicrobial drugs. These interactions are leading to an upswing of new fungal infections in new places, causing new (and exacerbating old) diseases in humans and other animals. Matthew Fisher’s research group is focused on developing genomic, epidemiological and experimental models to uncover the factors driving these EIDs, and to attempt to develop new methods of diagnosis and control.

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