This application requests support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled Fungal Pathogens: From Basic Biology to Drug Discovery, organized by Joseph Heitman, John Taylor and Leah E. Cowen, which will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico from January 15 - 20, 2012.
The aim of this meeting is to bring together the academic, medical, and pharmaceutical communities focused on fungal microbial pathogens of humans and other animals to illustrate common themes, and therapeutic, diagnostic, and preventive opportunities. Among both basic and physician-scientists, we seek to bridge those working on the pathogenic microbe (via genetics, cell biology, genomics) and the host (immunology, including both innate and adaptive immunity). With respect to therapeutics, the emphasis is on developed as well as novel therapeutics, including both drugs and vaccines. Finally, a key aspect is to bridge the communities working on the diversity of fungi that infect humans, and also those working on the chytrid outbreak causing amphibian decline and extinctions. Opportunities for interdisciplinary interactions will be significantly enhanced by the concurrent meeting on Drug Discovery for Protozoan Parasites, which will share a keynote address and two plenary sessions with this meeting.
There is a pressing need to better understand the biology of the pervasive fungal pathogens. These are not only the cause of life-threatening human disease: they are also responsible for amphibian extinctions, present threats to agriculture and world food supplies, and are potential risks as bioweapons. The Keystone Symposia meeting on Fungal Pathogens: From Basic Biology to Drug Discovery will provide a unique venue for interaction and exchange of cutting-edge research on diverse fungal pathogens from an interdisciplinary perspective spanning evolution, genomics, mechanisms of virulence, host-pathogen interactions, sexual genetic exchange, drug resistance and drug discovery.