Deep tissue fungal infections cause over 30% mortality and add over $2.6 billion to healthcare costs in the United States alone [1,2]. In Qatar, fungal infections occur in up to 16% of all patience's suffering from continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis [3]. Implanted medical devices such as artificial joints, catheters and artificial heart valves are associated with elevated rates of fungal bloodstream infections. One of the predominant causes of fungal infections is its ability to grow as a biofilm on these device surfaces [4,5]. Fungal infections are of particular concern to diabetic patients; a condition of great concern in Middle East, with diabetic rates higher then 30% in many Gulf countries [6]. The development and use of the antifungal echinocandins, which effectively treats the most prevalent pathogenic fungi C. albicans, has resulted in other less known fungi emerging as pathogenic sources of infection. With a diverse population of patients, Qatari hospitals have encountered increasing rates of infections from echinocandins resistant pathogenic fungi including Trichosporon spp., and Candida spp. (personal communications). In collaboration with Dr. Saad Taj Aldeen at Hamad Medical Center, I have received a large number of patient isolates that represent a variety of fungal species from a myriad of infection sites. Little is known about many of these different pathogenic fungi. Our specific research objectives were to better characterize this diverse collection of pathogenic fungi to enhance our understanding of the similarities and differences in biofilm formation of these fungi. In vitro biofilm formation assays have been performed and the results highlight unique differences that may explain the different rates of infections observed in the clinical setting. Understanding the different and similar mechanisms used by various fungi to form biofilms will aid in the identification of the pathogen in a host and help determine the most effective treatment. In addition, this information will provide a foundational understanding of biofilm formation and aid in the development of simple assays to support the development of novel therapies.


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