Elucidating the role of early granuloma formation in dissemination during fungal infections in vivo

Year of award: 2015


  • Dr Kerstin Voelz

    University of Birmingham

Project summary

Over one billion fungal infections occur each year worldwide of which more than two million develop into life-threatening invasive mycoses. At the same time, our current anti-fungal therapies are ineffective, expensive and show substantial side-effects. As a result, up to 95% of patients with invasive fungal infections will die. Several major fungal pathogens are known to induce the formation of granuloma tissue, such as Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, Histoplasma.

I will initiate a new line of research investigating the role of early granuloma formation during fungal infections using an in vivo zebrafish model. I will determine whether granuloma formation during fungal infection protects the host by trapping fungi or damages it by allowing persistence. This approach will provide information on the spatio-temporal patterns of granuloma formation and immune activation and how these correlate with the spread of disease.

The data will be applied to explain the striking individual variability in susceptibility to and outcome of fungal infections.