How fungi turn into dangerous pathogens

New research group „Host Fungal Interfaces“ starts in October

| by Christine Vogler

Dr. Slavena Vylkova (Quelle: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU)
Dr. Slavena Vylkova is head of the new research group "Host Fungal Interfaces" at the ZIK Septomics in Jena. (Source: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU)

Sepsis is one of the most dangerous diseases worldwide. In Germany alone, each year around 150.000 people suffer from sepis and approximately 60.000 patients die of this disease where the body's own immune defense is out of control due to an infection. The Centre for Innovation Competence (ZIK) Septomics aims at finding novel ways to diagnose and treat sepsis. The joint research institution of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the University Hospital Jena and the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knöll Institute (HKI) - has been funded since 2009 by means of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and receives further funding from the Free State of Thuringia.

Now, ZIK Septomics on Beutenberg Campus in Jena grows: On October 1, 2016, the new research group "Host Fungal Interfaces" will start working. The team, consisting of six members, will be headed by Dr. Slavena Vylkova. The 38 year-old biologists will come to Jena from the University of Texas in Houston. The research project is supported for five years with 6.7 million Euro. The new group will study clinically relevant aspects of the pathobiology of invasive fungal infections. Of particular interest is the interaction between sepsis causing agents such as the yeast Candida albicans and the body of the affected patient.