Congratulations to Dr. Don Sheppard who obtained a CIHR Foundation Grant ($2,270,367) for his project titled "Human Fungal Infections - Targeting host-pathogen interactions to develop novel antifungal therapies".
In total, only 36 projects were funded across Canada and 12 in Quebec (More information on the CIHR website).
Summary of the project:
Fungal infections are common and devastating in patients whose immune systems do not work properly or those with long-term lung disease. Our research program seeks to understand at a molecular level how molds and other fungi can cause human disease. We have identified two types of sugars made by fungi such as the mold Aspergillus that allow them to attach to human tissues and invade our lungs. We have developed new therapies that target these sugars in order to develop new therapies to treat or prevent these infections. These therapies include proteins that can be used to break down these sugars during infection, and vaccines that boost the response of our immune system against fungi. These strategies have already shown promise in animal studies. In the coming years we will refine and optimize these therapies and continue our discovery research to identify new sugar molecules that fungi use to cause human disease. Identifying these new sugars will provide us with new targets for our antifungal development pipeline. These studies will both improve our understanding of how fungi cause human disease, and provide us with new weapons in the fight against these devastating infections.