Two new publications on Antifungal Surface Coatings

I’d like to highlight the great work from PhD student Javad Naderi.

Javad has published two papers on antifungal surface coatings.

The first, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, is on covalent coupling of two members of the echinocandin antifungal drug glass to surfaces. Both anidulafungin and micafungin surface coatings were highly antifungal vs Candida albicans.

Link to journal article.

Surface coatings with covalently attached anidulafungin and micafungin prevent Candida albicans biofilm formation.

However, perhaps the most important finding was that the anidulafungin surface killed yeast and prevented biofilm, and could be washed and rechallenged at least 5 times without losing efficacy.

This finding supports a mechanism of action where the drug is:

  • not eluted or cleaved from the surface
  • not affected by surface fouling

Along with previous publications on the other approved echinocandin, caspofungin, there is more evidence to suggest that the echinocandin drug class can be antifungal even when immobilised on surfaces (i.e. does not need diffusion to reach drug targets). Exactly how this happens is an active area or research for us.

The second explores the surface activity of another drug class, the polyenes. At first, it looks like drugs like amphotericin B remain active when attached to surfaces; however, if you are careful and you make sure to wash off ALL traces of loosely adsorbed compounds (leaving only contently attached) then this effect is eliminated.

Thus, not all surface coatings prepared using covalent attachment of antifungal drugs actually work.

Link to article:

Surface-grafted antimicrobial drugs: Possible misinterpretation of mechanism of action.

Failure to account for compounds that can be washed off and possible misinterpretation of mechanism of action should be an issue that researchers are made aware of.

This article was a Featured Article and a Scilight published in the journal Biointerphases.



The Fungus Olympics

Recently, Dr Sarah Kidd and I participated in the Fungus Olympics. This event is an international competition between laboratories to see how fungal strains use hyphae to navigate microscopic obstacles.

I wanted to share here my experience and fun I had participating in this event. Also, the event was important because we are able to learn much about how fungi sense surfaces: an important aspect of the way in which they cause diseases.

This has developed into an interesting story and I pitched the idea to The Conversation. I have been working on the article a great team there and the piece is nearing completion. Hopefully it will be soon when I can share the published final version.

Until then, I will tease a video from the event which is the first video that I’ve uploaded to YouTube. It shows one of our “athletes” navigating some of the microfluidic obstacles which make up the “events” in the competition.