Bianca Briscas | The secret to fighting fungal infection
Fungal infections kill three times as many people as malaria every single year.
Nearly 400 years ago, scientists made the groundbreaking discovery that fungi were all around us, on us, and inside us too. The development of germ theory – the understanding that microbes like bacteria, viruses, and fungi are responsible for infectious diseases – has since revolutionised almost every aspect of human behaviour. But when it comes to treating infections caused by fungi, we haven’t actually made a whole lot of progress. Even with the handful of anti-fungal drugs we have developed, nearly 50% of all people who develop a systemic fungal infection will die. So why is our current arsenal against fungal infection so limited? And how might we better arm ourselves in the war against fungus?
Bianca Briscas is a PhD Candidate in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Faculty of Science at UNSW Sydney. She completed a Bachelor of Medical Science (Distinction) in 2020, and received First Class Honours in 2021. Her PhD research centres on the human microbiome, with a focus on exploring the complex interactions between bacteria and fungi, to inform novel approaches to managing infections caused by Candida albicans, an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans.