Macalester College researchers will use a new grant to study a fungus responsible for about 3,500 deaths every year in the U.S.
Macalester biology professor Chris Calderone said the fungus, called Aspergillus fumigates, can infect the lungs of hospital patients with compromised immune systems.
"It's actually the most dangerous, in terms of number of infections and so on, fungus for humans and there's something in the order of 3,500 deaths a year in the U.S. from this guy," Calderone said.
He said the two-year, $75,000 grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement will help them study the molecules within the enzymes that the fungus needs to survive.
"The idea being that if we can somehow inhibit the synthesis of the molecules by this target, then it can survive and it becomes a therapeutic target then," he said.
The Research Corporation for Science Advancement grant is also intended to encourage research collaboration, and the study will be done by the biology and chemistry departments at Macalester.