Fungi: Dangerous and important pathogens

Dr. Ana Alastruey-Izquierdo, Instituto de Salud Carlos III – Spain

Ana works on the identification, diagnosis, and antifungal resistance of fungal infections. Furthermore, she has been working on the Fungal Priority Pathogen List by WHO which has been released recently. She will inform you about fungi we have forgotten about. 

Climate change impact on vector-borne diseases

Dr. Marina Treskova, University Heidelberg – Germany

Climate change directly and indirectly affects infectious diseases. In this lecture, we will focus on vector-borne infections such as dengue and Zika, explore how climate affects the spatio-temporal distribution of these infections, and discuss potential mechanisms of the climate change impacts and the methods to study these impacts.

MycetOS, open source drug discovery for mycetoma

Dr. Wendy van de Sande, Erasmus MC – The Netherlands

Mycetoma is a Neglected tropical disease which manifest as tumorous lesions in the subcutaneous tissue. Most commonly the feet are affected. Mycetoma can be caused by either bacteria (actinomycetoma) or fungi (eumycetoma) and especially the latter is difficult to treat. Treatment of eumycetoma consist of a combination of antifungal therapy and surgery. Unfortunately, even though patients are treated for years, the success rates of this therapy are poor and recurrences are common. One of the reasons behind this poor treatment response is that once entered into the host, the fungus organizes itself in a protective structure called a grain. Within the grain the fungal hyphae are embedded in a cement material which is surrounded by a neutrophil zone and a collagen capsule. This grain cannot be formed in vitro, which makes it difficult to identify drugs with activity in mycetoma. Therefore in order to identify drugs for mycetoma we use an approach in which we first identify which drugs can inhibit the hyphae of Madurella mycetomatis, the most common causative agent of mycetoma. Then we use an invertebrate model to form mycetoma grains and determine the in vivo efficacy. For this program we use an open source approach, which means that everyone in the world can participate. For this Medicines for Malaria Venture donated their Open Access compound boxes, chemists and chemistry students are synthesizing compounds and students from different regions in the world helped us with the screening process. During this lecture you will learn about the tropical neglected infectious disease mycetoma, the different models we developed and use to screen the compounds created and how a drug discovery project can be run using an open science approach.

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