Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from serious fungal infections. Aspergillus causes 100,000s of life-threatening infections worldwide and millions of allergic and chronic infections, with much morbidity. Over the past few decades, the incidence of invasive aspergillosis has risen steadily. It is now the most common invasive mould infection worldwide. Mortality is almost 100% if the disease is left untreated and high (40 to 90%) with therapy. Invasive aspergillosis occurs in 5 to 25% of all leukemia patients and is the leading infectious cause of death in many transplant centres. Over 4.8 million are estimated to suffer from allergic aspergillosis complicating asthma. Aspergillus fumigatus is the most common responsible species, causing approximately 90% of human Aspergillus infections.
As well as the clinical aspects of medical mycology including diagnostics and the role of filamentous fungi in various forms of severe allergy, research carried out in the Manchester Fungal Infection Group group ranges from genomics through to diagnostics and studies of new antifungal drugs. Current collaboration with the JC Venter [genomics] Institute involve the sequencing and comparative analysis of multiple isolates of A. fumigatus.
Projects in the laboratory include studies of the frequency and mechanisms of azole drug resistance, human genetic variants underlying the different aspergillus diseases, the role of Aspergillus pathogenicity factors in infection using knockout mutants, and identification of novel drug targets. A substantial effort goes into evaluation of new antifungal drugs and diagnostics clinically and in the clinical laborarory. The Aspergillus Website has been developed to enable the dissemination of medical and scientific information about Aspergillus and aspergillosis
Work is or has been supported by the Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (USA), the EU, the Moulton Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Fungal Research Trust, National Institute for Health Research and the Chronic Granulomatous Disease Research Trust.
The impact of completed research is summarised here: http://www.aspergillus.org.uk/content/diagnostics-and-novel-life-saving-therapies-aspergillosis-prof-david-denning
Main research interests are:
Burden of fungal diseases
Antifungal drug resistance
Phenotypes and genotypes of chronic and allergic pulmonary aspergillosis
Improving and evaluating fngal disease diagnostics.