Our approach extends in four major areas of experimental mycology that directly impacts all areas of risk stratification, epidemiology, diagnosis detection of resistance and treatment of all opportunistic mycoses:
- In vitro screening for novel antifungal agents
- Development of suitable mamamalian models (pulmonary, subcutaneous) suitable for studying antifungal pharmacology and fungal pathogenesis of Candida, Aspergillus and other emerging fungi
- Development of alternative mini-host organisms, such as the fruit flies and zebra fish, as easy, inexpensive, fast and genetically amenable models to study all medically important fungi (Candida, Aspergillus, Zygomycetes, Fusarium)
- Development of novel platforms for delivery of antifungal agents
- Development of novel T-cell or NK cell based immunotherapeutic against molds
Several discoveries the Kontoyiannis Laboratory include the establishment of Drosophila melanogaster as a novel model to study fungal pathogenesis and treatment, the first description of the fungal exotoxin gliotoxin in angiogenesis, the synergy of calcineurin and ergosterol pathway inhibition against molds, the development of subacute experimental models of aspergillosis in murine hosts, his insight regarding the paradoxical effect of the fungal cell wall inhibiting agents against fungi, the introduction of peptidomimetic approaches to treatment and diagnosis in experimental systems, the description of apoptosis in Mucorales, the introduction of the concept of sequential antifungal exposure in in vitro and virulence testing, the immunomodulatory activity of the echinocandins, the study of association of fitness loss and resistance in fungi, development of chimeric antigen receptor engineered T cells with activity against Aspergillus, and several others.