The UK has the second highest number of adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) in the world (behind the USA), with 10,583 registered patients (CF UK registry 2014). Over the past decade, new therapies for the treatment of cystic fibrosis have improved the life expectancy and quality of life of patients. Simultaneously, azole resistance has emerged in the pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, which has been associated with treatment failure in patients with aspergillosis. A recent study conducted at Manchester University found that approximately 50% of CF patients in over 30 countries were infected with A. fumigatus, and more than half of these patients are also over the age of 18. Multi-drug resistant A. fumigatus is now having a negative impact on the lives of CF patients, causing an accelerated decline in lung function. Therefore, there is high demand for research into the prevalence of drug-resistant A. fumigatus within our NHS hospitals, as well as working towards describing resistance mutations and improving rapid diagnosis.
I am currently an early career research fellow as part of Imperial College’s Antimicrobial Research Collaborative, improving methods of diagnosis of drug resistant A. fumigatus within the CF cohort using nanopore sequencing technology.
I am also continuing my research on the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, which predominantly infects immunocompromised individuals, and is responsible for almost a quarter of AIDS-related deaths in Africa.