FINSysB
Pathogenomics and systems biology of fungal infections - an integrative approach

What is FINSysB ?

 

FINSysB is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network funded under the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission and launched in October 2008. The FINSysB network combines a research programme on the ‘Pathogenomics and systems biology of fungal infections – an integrative approach’ and well-structured training programmes in research skills and complementary transferable skills.

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Fungal pathogens are a dangerous and underrated enemy.  Most Europeans don’t realise that fungal infections are as frequent as, and more lethal than most famous bacterial pathogens that attract the media headlines.  In fact we are continually waging war against fungal infections, and we need better weapons to combat them.

Fungi cause a range of diseases from oral and genital thrush to potentially fatal bloodstream infections.  The life-threatening fungal infections, which tend to hit the most vulnerable patients in intensive care units, are difficult to diagnose and harder to treat than bacterial infections.  These fungal infections significantly extend the suffering of patients and significantly extent their hospital terms, thereby having a major impact upon medical care budgets (up to 1000 Euros per day per patient).  Clearly it is important that we defeat these infections, but to do so we require more accurate diagnostic tests and a broader range of specialized antifungal drugs. 

Thankfully, the European Commission is investing in the development of new weapons in the war against fungal infections through the Marie Curie Initial Training Network, FINSysB.  The first goal of this Network is to advance our fundamental knowledge of how Candida infects its human host, and how our immunological defences combat these infections.  To achieve this FINSysB is combining state-of-the-art genomic, proteomic, immunological and mathematical modelling approaches.  This knowledge is essential for the identification of new targets that could lead to novel vaccines, better diagnostic tests and effective antifungal drugs.  Investment in this combination of fundamental and translational research is vitally important if we are to win the war against fungal infections.

The health and wealth of the European Union is absolutely dependent upon the training of young scientists capable of driving our research forward in the future.  This is the second goal of the FINSysB Network.  Each of the twelve FINSysB group leaders, who are based in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Israel, brings unique expertise in experimental biology, computational science or translational medicine to the Network.  This is providing fantastic training opportunities for our FINSysB researchers, not only in the latest experimental technologies, but also in interdisciplinary science and the commercial exploitation of this science. 

With the encouragement of the European Commission, FINSysB has taken on a third important objective – to increase the public understanding of science.  It is vital that the public understand the invaluable contribution that science makes to the long term health and wealth of the European Union.  Therefore, FINSysB researchers are engaged in a range of activities designed to communicate their science to the wider public (including blogging and tweeting!).  In this way, FINSysB is actively disseminating our science to key user communities, as well as contributing to the long term aim of winning the war against fungal infections.


FINSysB contact: Prof. Alistair J.P. Brown, University of Aberdeen, al.brown@abdn.ac.uk

 

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