Associate Professor Alexander Idnurm - University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Alexander Idnurm - University of Melbourne

Davis Auditorium
Start Time: 
Mon, 15/07/2019 - 12:00pm
End Time: 
Mon, 15/07/2019 - 1:00pm

Fungal diseases in humans and the development of new antifungal drugs

​Postgraduate lecture series hosted by Dr Anna Coussens

The fungi, our closest microbial relatives, are amongst the most common causes of human disease, but usually these are not life threatening.  A small group of fungal species is able to spread throughout the body, and those cases are usually fatal unless treated with antifungal agents (and sometime surgery).  However, the chemical class options for fungicides are limited, in part due to the largely shared biochemistry between humans and fungi, and those that are have either toxic side effects or resistance emerges rapidly.  A number of new approaches have been taken towards finding ways to control fungi pharmacologically.  The presentation will cover what these approaches are, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Dr Idnurm did his PhD research (1999-2002) at the University of Melbourne on the main fungal pathogen of canola.  He then spent five years at Duke University Medical Center, USA, working on the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, investigating mechanisms of virulence and the related topic of mechanisms and evolution of light sensing in the fungi.  In 2007 he established his own laboratory at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, continuing research on C. neoformans and model fungal species.  In 2014 he was recruited back to the University of Melbourne to research on canola diseases.  Dr Idnurm career has therefore encompassed the genetic and molecular biology analyses of a number of different fungal species, providing an ability for taking comparative approach across the fungal kingdom.