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Jennifer Geddes-McAlister, PhD

Jennifer Geddes-McAlister, PhD

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph –

Combatting Fungal Infections through the Discovery and Mechanistic Elucidation of Novel Anti-virulence Strategies

Fungal pathogens are emerging as critical threats to global health, with over 300 million people affected by serious fungal diseases worldwide.

In Canada, pathogenic fungi are a growing public health concern with the evolution of drug-resistant strains and the emergence of new pathogens.

The treatment of fungal infections is challenging given similarities of drug targets in the human host, the requirement for prolonged treatment regimens, and a limited selection of clinically-effective, non-toxic, anti-fungal agents.

We will:

    • Define how fungal pathogens interact with the host, and
    • Understand why the host is unable to clear infection
    • We also aim to identify new strategies to perturb the interaction between pathogen and host to reduce our reliance on current antifungals for treatment options

This information will provide new insight into how fungi cause disease, and the mechanisms used to evade the immune response.

Professor Geddes-McAlister is one of three recipients of The Jarislowksy Fellowship – Banting Discovery Award 2020.