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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Yale: Grants Totaling $1.74 Million Support Fungi Research at Yale School of Public Health

Yale School of Public Health professor Dr. Jeffrey Townsend is a primary investigator on two collaborative research projects that are applying the latest in comparative genomics and evolutionary biology to identify genes essential to the germination of certain fungi spores. Approximately 300 fungi are known to cause disease in humans, some of which are potentially lethal. Fungal infections start when a spore germinates and grows in the environment of its host. Yet, scientists know little about the genes governing these events. Dr. Townsend, Elihu Professor of Biostatistics and Professor of Ecology of Evolutionary Biology at Yale, and his team recently received a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that will allow them to investigate how shifts in gene expression over time allowed different fungi to evolve and gain the ability to attack different hosts in different ways. The team also received a 5-year, $838,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate how fungal pathogens attack human cells via germination. The findings could lead to new technologies to control fungal infections.

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