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Dr Rhys Farrer

Exeter academic awarded grant to research a new fungal lineage

A University of Exeter academic has won a Wellcome Trust Career Development Award to research an antifungal-resistant lineage of fungi.

Dr Rhys Farrer's work focusses on the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus gattii, which is found in the environment and can cause serious disease in patients upon inhalation.

In 2019, Dr Farrer and colleagues discovered a new lineage from the Central Zambezian Miombo Woodlands named ‘Variety Gattii Five’ that has a reduced ability to cause disease, yet very high resistance to anti-fungal drugs.

Leveraging this discovery, Dr Farrer will explore the genes responsible for pathogenicity and drug resistance, to improve scientific knowledge and pave the way for better treatments.

"I am hugely excited to be given this opportunity to explore and develop this exciting area of research on pathogenicity and anti-microbial resistance in human fungal pathogens," Dr Farrer said.

"I am very grateful for all the support from everyone in the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology and the Biosciences community at Exeter throughout the entire application process."

This award is aimed at mid-career research to develop their research capabilities, drive innovative programmes of work, and deliver significant shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing.

Date: 16 August 2022

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