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Fungal pathogens are a major cause of superficial and systemic disease in immuncompromised (e.g. HIV+ patients) and immunodeficient (e.g. transplant recipients) patients and may contribute to over 4% of hospital-based deaths. The diagnosis and treatment of fungal infections can be difficult and there is a limited range of effective anti-fungal agents currently in use. This module will examine the molecular and cellular mechanisms employed by fungal pathogens to colonise and disseminate within the host, and to evade the immune response. Specific sections will examine the biology of the yeast Candida albicans and its ability to colonise mucosal surfaces. The role of toxins in the pathogenesis of Aspergillus fumigatus, a pulmonary pathogen, will be discussed. The emergence of ‘new’ fungal pathogens will be studied and the factors that have lead to their emergence will be characterized. Other areas to be studied include means of diagnosing fungal infections, treatment options, mode of action of antifungal agents, and the immune response to fungal infection.
This module is capped at 100 students.