David Denning, FRCP FRCPath DCH FMedSci


Personal profile


Principal Investigator, Manchester Fungal infection Group

Managing Editor, The Aspergillus Website

Chief Executive, Global Action Fund for Fungal infections (GAFFI)



  • Retired physician with expertise in fungal infections, particularly aspergillosis, antifungal resistance, the treatment of fungal infection and infection in the immunocompromised patient
  • Graduate of Guys Hospital London in 1980, with training in medicine, paediatrics, gastroenteroloy, haematology, infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, including a 3 year fellowship at Stanford University with Professor David Stevens (1987-1990)
  • Author of >700 research papers and chapters, mostly on fungal disease, resistance in fungi and treatment of fungal infection.
  • Co-author of ‘Medicine' with Professor Paul O'Neil and Dr Tim Dornan, an undergraduate textbook of medicine now in its third edition (2008).
  • Google H-index of 125
  • Personal citation index of >90,000 
  • Highly cited author globally 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • Research grant income to Manchester University >£30M since 1990
  • Ex-Director of National Aspergillosis Centre (2009-2020)
  • Co-ordinator of the International Genome Sequencing project for Aspergillus fumigatus (funded by NIH, Wellcome Trust and Spanish government) (1997-2005)
  • Founder and Editor of Aspergillus website (1998-)
  • Consultant (current or past) to multiple pharmaceutical companies with regard to antifungal drug discovery including Merck, Pfizer, Schering Plough, Biosergen, Pulmocide and Astellas.
  • Founder of F2G Ltd, an antifungal drug discovery company spun out from Manchester University (1998-).
  • Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Myconostica (acquired by Trinity Biotech), developing and commercialising molecular diagnostics for fungal disease (2006-2011).
  • Listed in Who's Who in the World since 1996/7 Listed in Who's Who in Healthcare since 1997 Listed in Who's Who in Science and Technology since 2005, in Who's Who 2013-
  • Chairman of several international conferences (Trends in Invasive Fungal Infection (x3 1993, 1997 and 1999; Advances against Aspergillosis x6 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022: Aspergillus Genetics and Genomes Focus Meeting 2004, and other smaller meetings) and sessions at major congresses.
  • MacFarlane Burnett Lecturer to the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases, 2005.
  • Edouard Drouhet medal lecture at the European Confederation of Medical Mycology, 2017
  • Keynote plenary speaker at the European Conference on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 2008; International Society for Human and Animal Mycology, Tokyo, 2009; Asian Mycological Congress, Beijing, 2013; Trends in Medical Mycology, Copenhagen, 2013, International Union of Microbiological Societies, Montreal, 2014; European Academy of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (EAACI), Lisbon, 2019.
  • Director of the Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE) program on behalf of the Fungal Infection Trust, 2012 –
  • Founding President, now Chief Executive of Global Action For Fungal Infections (GAFFI) in Geneva and UK, 2013-, focussed on advocacy for fungal disease to governments and global agencies, including the WHO.
  • Member of the SEARO Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) (2019-)

Research interests

Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from serious fungal infections. Aspergillus causes 100,000s of life-threatening infections worldwide and millions of allergic and chronic infections, with much morbidity. Over the past few decades, the incidence of invasive aspergillosis has risen steadily. It is now the most common invasive mould infection worldwide. Mortality is almost 100% if the disease is left untreated and high (40 to 90%)  with therapy. Invasive aspergillosis occurs in 5 to 25% of all leukemia patients and is the leading infectious cause of death in many transplant centres. Over 4.8 million are estimated to suffer from allergic aspergillosis complicating asthma. Aspergillus fumigatus is the most common responsible species, causing approximately 90% of human Aspergillus infections.

As well as the clinical aspects of medical mycology including diagnostics and the role of filamentous fungi in various forms of severe allergy, research carried out in the Manchester Fungal Infection Group group ranges from genomics through to diagnostics and studies of new antifungal drugs. Current collaboration with the JC Venter [genomics] Institute involve the sequencing and comparative analysis of multiple isolates of A. fumigatus.

Projects in the laboratory include studies of the frequency and mechanisms of azole drug resistance, human genetic variants underlying the different aspergillus diseases, the role of Aspergillus pathogenicity factors in infection using knockout mutants, and identification of novel drug targets. A substantial effort goes into evaluation of new antifungal drugs and diagnostics clinically and in the clinical laborarory.  The Aspergillus Website has been developed to enable the dissemination of medical and scientific information about Aspergillus and aspergillosis

Work is or has been supported by the Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (USA), the EU, the Moulton Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Fungal Research Trust, National Institute for Health Research and the Chronic Granulomatous Disease Research Trust.

The impact of completed research is summarised here: http://www.aspergillus.org.uk/content/diagnostics-and-novel-life-saving-therapies-aspergillosis-prof-david-denning  

Our work also contributed to the SDG3 goal for the University's return on social responsibility here: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/impact/sdgs/health/fungal-disease-sdg-3/



Most teaching involves project options students and postgaduate research students.

Externally, expertise on chronic and allergic aspergillosis and the treatment of fungal disease is shared with doctors all over the world.

Leading International Fungal Infection is one of many online resources available worldwide. 

My collaborations



Social responsibility

Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE) at www.fungaleducation.org

Global Action For Fungal Infections at www.GAFFI.org

Research interests

Main research interests are:

Burden of fungal diseases

Antifungal drug resistance

Phenotypes and genotypes of chronic and allergic pulmonary aspergillosis

Improving and evaluating fngal disease diagnostics.


Supervision information

Gary M. Megson, MSc 1993: The application of gas-liquid chromatography for the detection of fungal polyols in serum (with Dr Drucker & Dr L Ganguli).

Michael Birch, MSc 1994 : DNA typing of A.fumigatus.

Emma Prebble, 1994 (Transferred to PhD from MSc): Hydrogen ion concentration of growing hyphae measured by fluorescence microscopy (with W. Robertson and G.D. Robson).

Seoughun Nho, PhD 1997 : Molecular taxonomy of C.inconspicua.

Karen Oakley, MSc 1997 : In vitro/in vivo correlation of susceptibility testing of Aspergillus fumigatus.

G.Guy Baily, MD, 1997 : Fluconazole resistant Candida

Lucy Ochola, MSc, 1999 : Antifungal activity from Kenyan plants (with R Brown).

Jeanette Bond, External MSc, University of Belfast, 1999: Cost implications of azole resistant thrush (dissertation).

Steven Hood, MD 2000 : Azole resistant Candida.

Michael Birch, PhD 2001 : Phospholipase activity in Aspergillus.

John W. Slaven, PhD 2001 : Multidrug resistance in Aspergillus (with I.S. Roberts).

A. Hassan Kazemi, PhD 2002: Phospholipases of Aspergillus fumigatus (with G. Robson)

Juan Mosquero, PhD 2002 : Resistance in Aspergillus flavus.

Peter Warn, PhD 2003 : Pathogenicity and virulence in Candida tropicalis.

Caroline Moore, PhD 2003 : Susceptibility testing of Candida.

Andrew Dodgson, PhD 2005: Molecular epidemiology of Candida glabrata.

William Hope, PhD 2006: Pathogenesis and diagnosis of invasive fungal infection

Ahmed Al-Barrag, PhD 2008: Aspects of growth and resistance in Aspergillus.

Susan Howard, PhD 2009 Azole Resistance in Aspergillus Species

Joanne Slater, PhD 2010. Early events in Aspergillus germination (with P. Warn).

Marcin Fraczek, PhD 2010. Cloning Aspergillus allergens (with P. Bowyer).

Vincent Nowaseb, MSc 2011. Evolution of Pneumocystis Pneumonia diagnosis.

Nicola Smith, PhD 2012 Genetics of aspergillosis (with A. Simpson, John Curtin and Paul Bowyer).

Ahmed Buied, PhD 2012. Azole resistance in A. fumigatus (with Paul Bowyer).

Caroline Baxter, PhD 2013. Aspergillus in cystic fibrosis (with Andrew Jones).

Adam Jeans, MD 2013. Diagnostics and aspergillosis (with Malcolm Richardson).

Livingstone Chishimba, PhD 2015. Fungal allergy in asthma (with Rob Niven).

Gemma Hayes, PhD 2017. Interaction of Aspergillus and the lung.

Michael J Clarke, MPhil 2017. An online microscopy and histology course.

Uju (Joy) Icheoku, PhD 2018. Molecular basis of invasive growth during mould infection of the lung. 

Rita Oladele, PhD 2018, Fungal Infections in Nigeria.

Abigail Cowley, PhD 2019. Mucins in cystic fibrosis sputum and Aspergillus.

Nagwa Ben Ghazzi, PhD 2020 The mechanistic basis of hemibiotrophy during infection of epithelial cells by Aspergillus fumigatus.

Findra Setianingrum, PhD 2020, Pulmonary fungal infections in Indonesia.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, The University of London

Award Date: 27 Jun 1980

External positions

Chief Executive, Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI)

31 Jul 2001 → …

Areas of expertise

  • R Medicine (General)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Medical Mycology

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Healthier Futures


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