Think Fungus: Fungal Research at the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre, UK

The Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) was brought into being in late 2016 by a £28.5 million grant from the National Institute for Health Research. An important part of that initiative is to drive forward research into infectious respiratory diseases including serious fungal diseases such as aspergillosis. The aim of this centre is to make the best use of all of the expertise and facilities in Manchester, working interactively and across our various medical and academic disciplinary boundaries to ensure that our projects meet as many needs as possible.

A very important aspect of Manchester BRC’s work is to ensure that the knowledge and experiences of patients and carers are involved from the very beginning of every project right through to the end. This ensures that the project works for all their needs as well as the needs of our researchers. This revolutionary approach gives our patients and carers an important and valued voice in the development of solutions to medical problems that progress as quickly as possible from the laboratory to the hospital bedside.

Headed by Professor David Denning, the respiratory infections programme  will:

  • Analyse the lung micro (and myco)biome which is increasingly being implicated as important for lung health. Research is currently suggesting that helping maintain a normal, healthy non-pathogenic lung microbiome is a step towards maintaining good lung health
  • Evaluate and improve the ability of molecular methods to detect and track resistance to antifungal drugs, an increasingly worrying barrier to treating serious fungal infections in the clinic
  • Improve our ability to detect and diagnose aspergillosis. Aspergillosis is currently very difficult to diagnose as its symptoms so closely resemble those of underlying diseases, we are trying to develop genetic markers that will pick out aspergillosis against what is usually a confusing background for the clinician. These same tools may also help personalise the treatment offered to each patient, ensuring that they get the best treatment for their particular type of aspergillosis