CRG: OPATHY - Development of new omics-based diagnostic tools to better manage yeast infections in humans

CRG: OPATHY - Development of new omics-based diagnostic tools to better manage yeast infections in humans

News from CRG

OPATHY is a new European training network aimed to developing new diagnostic tools to study and manage human yeast infections. To this end, OPATHY members are recruiting now 13 PhD candidates (Early Stage Researchers). The network is coordinated by the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain, and brings together five universities, four companies and three research organisations, including two clinical centres. 

Yeasts are unicellular microorganisms classified within the Fungi kingdom. They are well known for their use in baking, winemaking and beer brewing fermentation, but some species of yeast are opportunistic pathogens that can cause infections in humans. “Today, yeast infections are poorly understood, difficult to diagnose, and are becoming increasingly frequent and serious, affecting over 300 million people worldwide. Fungal infections kill as many people as Malaria does every year, and are a problem of growing concern for patients with a debilitated immune system such as those with cancer or HIV,” states Toni Gabaldón, coordinator of the OPATHY network. “Some of the most urgent problems come from an increase in resistance to anti-fungal drugs and from the lack of fast and efficient diagnostic tools to determine appropriate treatments. Early detection of the species underlying the infection is key for a successful treatment. Researchers at this international training network will endeavour to find innovative ways of doing this in a faster and more accurate manner,” Gabaldón explains.

The European Innovation Training Network “OPATHY” plans to create a new paradigm for the management of yeast infections. The immediate goal is to rapidly and accurately diagnose yeast diseases by means of innovative omics that will result in improved treatment strategies. OPATHY will explore the potential of next-generation high-throughput technologies, including genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics, to study the interactions of infectious yeasts (e.g. Candida and Cryptococcus sp.) with our body, and to develop new diagnostic tools to monitor yeast infections in the clinic.

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