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[SCAN] A three-act play: fungi, chemicals and demise | Cristina Silva Pereira

Cristina Silva Pereira, Applied and Environmental Mycology , ITQB NOVA

When 07 Jun, 2017 from
12:00 pm to 01:00 pm
Where Auditorium
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Title: A three-act play: fungi, chemicals and demise

Speaker: Cristina Silva Pereira

Affiliation: Cristina Silva Pereira Lab - Applied and Environmental Mycology  


This lecture will be presented as a three act play, comprising Setup, Confrontation and Resolution. I will briefly review some of our major findings and current hypothesis, underlining critical steps that influence our research path.

My group - Applied and Environmental Mycology - was initially launched with a strong biotech focus, particularly on the exploitation of fungi and fungal system for biotechnological applications in biodegradation and bioremediation. However, our research has evolved significantly, and, at present, our major research is focussing central questions in fungal biology and ecology. Particularly, we are investigating how chemical effectors (either natural or anthropogenic) transcriptionally modulate fungal development with emphasis on their ecological resilience and pathogenicity. Our most recent studies revealed the ecological role of the functioning of belowground fungal communities; the assignment, at a gene level, of the central pathway for the catabolism of aromatics in fungi; the impact of plant defensive polyester macromolecules in the life cycle of fungi; and chemical stimuli that augment secondary metabolite diversity by de-silencing cryptic genes and that modulate the biosynthesis of sphingolipids potentially influencing fungal resistance to antifungals.

Overall, our vision is to establish knowledge foundation for the development of novel and efficient antifungal therapies. Fungi kill annually more than 1.5 million people, worldwide. The available antifungal therapies are totally insufficient to fight the emergence of novel fungal pathogens and the continuous growth of the most vulnerable population, immunocompromised/suppressed patients of all ages.


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