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UTHSC News: Researchers Receive $423,500 for Study to Improve Outcomes from Fungal Infections


Aspergillus fumigatus is the major airborne fungus present indoors and outdoors that causes various diseases, the severity of which are dependent on an individual’s immune status.

Researchers in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center have received a $423,500 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health for research aimed at reducing disease and mortality rates associated with Aspergillus infections by focusing on the molecular pathways in the fungus that mediate inflammatory host responses.

Jarrod Fortwendel, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Pediatric Experimental Therapeutics in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science, and Brian Peters, PhD, associate professor and First Tennessee Endowed Chair of Excellence in Clinical Pharmacy in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Translational Science, are the principal investigators of this study.

“Aspergillus fumigatus is a filamentous fungal pathogen that causes disease in a wide range of individuals. Most of the at-risk population have a dysfunctional immune system. In the severely immune suppressed, Aspergillus causes invasive disease that’s considered highly deadly,” Dr. Fortwendel said. “It also causes chronic diseases in individuals who may have a hyperactive immune system. In many of these cases, disease symptomology is driven by an overactive immune system that isn’t effective at clearing the fungus.”

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