Research Medical Developments
Australia has an active medical and veterinary mycological community that has made many pivotal contributions to medical and veterinary mycology at the international level. Historical studies focused principally on dermatophytes especially those associated with Australian Aborigines and native animals. Today international collaborations range from basic science projects studying DNA barcoding of pathogenic fungi by using comparative genomics to develop new standardized diagnostic tools, to applied clinical studies on candidemia, scedosporiosis and cryptococcosis. Cryptococcosis has been an important endemic fungal infection of both humans and animals in Australia since first being recognized in the early 1900’s..
However it was the discovery of the natural habitat of C. gattii in 1990 that provided a major impetus for global research on the epidemiology and ecology of this fungus. These studies have for the first time, defined the epidemiology of these serious fungal infections in Australia and elswhere and have generated collaborations in Europe, USA and Canada.The Australian and New Zealand Mycoses Interest Group (ANZMIG) is now the region’s premier medical mycology forum. The role of ANZMIG is to foster and promote research, education and training in the pathogenesis, microbiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human infections caused by fungi and closely related organisms.
To achieve this ANZMIG has been instrumental in the conception, design and implementation of many mycological research and educational projects. These include; the Australian Candidemia Study and associated studies on invasive fungal infections in haematology patients and candidemia in ICU patients; the Australian Scedosporium study, the Aspergillus haematology study and several Cryptococcus studies. ANZMIG has also been instrumental in publishing the Australian Guidelines for use of antifungal agents in treatment of invasive fungal infection. It also hosts a biannual Mycology MasterClass and many other clinical mycology symposia and conference programs.
Overall, Australia and New Zealand have an active and productive medical and veterinary mycological community that is ideally placed to host the 2015 ISHAM Congress. Melbourne has a dynamic scientific community with a strong objective to improve health and medical outcomes. It is one of the key medical and scientific centres in Australia with a wide variety of world renowned Medical Research Institutes and Universities. There is substantial research into infectious diseases with a strong focus in the use of molecular technologies for a wide variety of organisms including those causing fungal disease.
Researchers from Melbourne have made major contributions to the development of new antibiotics, diagnosis and control of cancer and heart disease, understanding diabetes, regulation of the immune system and many other areas of medical research. In the field of mycology, diagnosticians in Melbourne are active in the detection and identification of mycological disease from a wide variety of sources with a key focus on human community and hospital acquired infections.
The Australian scientific community is well recognised as collaborative, and Melbourne is one node of extensive scientific collaborations across Australia, as well as internationally. In the field of mycology there is a well established network which facilitates research collaboration, the sharing of materials, the distribution of materials for quality control diagnostics and a variety of other interactions..
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