Jun 3, 2022

GOHi faculty awarded USDA grant for antifungal research

Maintaining antifungal products for crop protection and human disease control is essential to food security and global human health. Global One Health initiative (GOHi) faculty members Sally Miller and Melanie Ivey of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences recently started the implementation of a new grant funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) focused on deciphering the environmental sources and genetic basis of antifungal resistant Aspergillus fumigatus.

The long-term goal of their research is to enhance plant and human health through the prevention or slowing of antifungal resistance in the environment. The short-term goal is to decipher the environmental sources and genetic basis of azole-resistant A. fumigatus. The team successfully collaborated in the past to conduct research to identify risk factors associated with pathogen resistance to antifungal products.

A more thorough understanding of the environmental sources of azole-resistant A. fumigatus will allow for developing informed and actionable recommendations and best practices to reduce or slow the risk of resistance development. Science-driven recommendations that address resistance in off-target fungi of human health importance are limited, and those that do exist focus on agricultural sources of resistance.

This grant will increase stakeholder awareness of antifungal resistance and promote fungicide stewardship for diverse environments. The specific extension objective is to provide a knowledge exchange to allow virtual information sharing by researchers, industry members and the government on antifungal resistance and fungicide stewardship.