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Personal profile

Overview

I lecture and coordinated the MSc Medical Mycology programme (2013-17) at Wythenshawe Hospital. I also have undergraduate teaching (Microbiology tutotrials, Dental School EBLs, Y2 dissertations), post-graduate teaching (MRes Infection Biology, Masters in Clinincal Immunology MSc and Masters in Medical Microbiology) and post-graduate research supervisory (PhD students in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Dentistry) responsibilities.

As part of my role as Senior Molecular Scientist for the Mycology Reference Centre Manchester (MRCM) located at MFT Wythenshawe Hospital, my research work involves developing, facilitating and implementing molecular tools for the diagnosis of fungal infections for this UK-wide service. We have implemented a new Aspergillus PCR for the detection of invasive and chronic aspergillosis (in 2017) and a new pyrosequencing assay to determine Aspergillus fumigatus triazole resistance in patient samples (2018). We are testing and implementing qPCR tests for Candida spp. and Pneumocystis jirovecii (PCP) and progressing towards including MALDI-TOF for fungal identification. I also have a sustained interest in Candida and mixed fungal/bacterial biofilms, including wound, vaginitis and cystic fibrosis (CF) models.

Biography

I pursued my first two degrees (BSc and MSc) at the University of Toronto, Canada, specialising in mycology, microbiology and plant pathology along with a joint degree in Chemistry.

I emigrated to Manchester, UK in 1990 to pursue PhD studies at the Victoria University of Manchester. Having gained a PhD in Mycology with Dr David Moore, I worked for a technology company spin-out of my PhD work, then another biotechnology company whose main activity was land bioremediation. I took 2 years off for maternity leave before returning to a post-doctoral position at the University of Manchester in Dr Ray O'Keefe's laboratory where my research involved the regulatory GTPase, Snu114, and other proteins involved in pre-mRNMA splicing in the yeast model, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Following another post-doctoral contract, I left his laboratory and joined Dr Riina Richardson's laboratory based at Wythenshawe Hospital. I have worked on various medical fungi, from Candida spp. to Aspergillus spp., developing diagnostic tools in the process, as well as other medical microorganisms, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and other infectious disease conditions. In addition, I developed an in vitro Candida biofilm model which demonstrates the potential carcinogenicity by acetaldehyde production during biofilm development and has been used for gene expression studies.

I taught and coordinated the MSc Medical Mycology programme from 2013-17. I am now Deputy Director of the MRes Infection Biology programme, as well as Journal Clubs unit lead. I also coordinate the Immune responses unit of the Clinical Immunology Masters programme and undertake a range of undergraduate teaching and post-graduate research student supervisory roles.

Research interests

Gene expression during glucose and alcohol metabolism and the effects of acetaldehyde on drug resistance and potential carcinogenicty of Candida albicans biofilms.

Physiology and drug resistance of fungal, bacterial and mixed biofilms.

Development, implementation and validation of molecular diagnostic platforms for clinical use.

Development of a resistance detection system for Aspergillus fumigatus by pyrosequencing.

Teaching

MRes Infection Biology

MSc Clinical Immunology programme

MSc Medical Microbiology

UG tutorials (Y1, Dental School EBLs)

My collaborations

Dr Riina Richardson

Prof David Denning

Dr Paul Bowyer (and staff at the Manchester Fungal Infection Group, MFIG)

Prof Malcolm Richardson, Dr Caroline Moore (and staff at the Mycology Reference Centre Manchester, MRCM)

Dr Ardehsir Bayat, Anil Sebastian and Mohammed Ashrafi

Dr Mikko Nieminen (Finland)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

British Society of Medical Mycology

European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

International Society for Human and Animal Mycology

Qualifications

BSc, MSc, PhD

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

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, An investigation of the role of the cytoskeleton and signalling pathways involved in gravimorphogenesis of Coprinus cinereus, The University of Manchester

Award Date: 5 Jul 1996

Master in Science, Electrophoretic and immunological analysis of developmental, stromatal proteins in the Sclerotiniaceae and other sclerotial fungi, University of Toronto (Mississauga)

Award Date: 7 Aug 1990

Bachelor of Science, Chemistry and Biology, University of Toronto (Mississauga)

Award Date: 5 Aug 1988

External positions

Senior Molecular Scientist, Mycology Reference Centre Manchester

1 Aug 2015 → …

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