Dr Megan Denise Lenardon

Dr Megan Denise Lenardon

Campus: Kensington

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
2017 – current: Senior Lecturer, School of BABS
2015 – 2016: Senior Research Fellow, Aberdeen Fungal Group, University of Aberdeen, UK
2012 – 2015: MRC New Investigator, Aberdeen Fungal Group, University of Aberdeen, UK
2005 – 2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Aberdeen Fungal Group, University of Aberdeen, UK

RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION
Opportunistic invasive fungal pathogens cause over two million life-threatening infections per year worldwide with mortality ranging...

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
2017 – current: Senior Lecturer, School of BABS
2015 – 2016: Senior Research Fellow, Aberdeen Fungal Group, University of Aberdeen, UK
2012 – 2015: MRC New Investigator, Aberdeen Fungal Group, University of Aberdeen, UK
2005 – 2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Aberdeen Fungal Group, University of Aberdeen, UK

RESEARCH CONTRIBUTION
Opportunistic invasive fungal pathogens cause over two million life-threatening infections per year worldwide with mortality ranging from 20–95%. At least as many, if not more people die from invasive fungal diseases every year than from malaria or tuberculosis. There is an urgent clinical need for the development of diagnostics and new therapeutics for fungal diseases which research in Dr Lenardon’s group aims to address in innovative ways.

Dr Lenardon has been studying the cell and molecular biology of Candida albicans, the most common serious fungal pathogen of humans, for over a decade. Her research has largely concentrated on fungal cell wall structure and biosynthesis, with a particular focus on the regulation of the synthesis of chitin. Chitin is an essential structural polysaccharide found in the cell wall almost all pathogenic fungi, but is not found in humans, and so it represents an attractive target for antifungal drugs. She has also investigated the precise ultrastructure of the C. albicans cell wall using a combination of high pressure freezing/freeze substitution, transmission electron microscopy and electron tomography. She has established three main research areas in her lab:

Cell division and septation in fungi
The fundamental process of septation in fungi is a critically important aspect of fungal cell biology. This process is so fundamental that undermining cell division is a very attractive way to conquer disease by pharmacological intervention. Current projects are aimed at understanding how chitin is synthesised at septation sites and how this process is regulated. In collaboration with Scotia Biologics Ltd., we hope to identify new targets for the development of novel antifungal therapies.

Antibody-based therapies and diagnostics for fungal infections
Antibodies that recognise components of the fungal cell surface may provide bio-tools for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic agents with utility against fungal infections. They will also provide a much needed alternative to the current inadequate range of chemical-based antifungal drugs. Ongoing projects are aimed at demonstrating the therapeutic and diagnostic utility of proprietary antibodies which recognise a target on the surface of fungal cells.

Fungal gut microbiota in relation to health and disease
The gut contains around 70% of the body’s microbiota, and it widely acknowledged that the gut microbiota has a major impact on human health. Fungi are also present in the gut, but are severely understudied compared to their bacterial counterparts. Opportunities are being explored to investigate the interactions between the gut microbiota and C. albicans in the colon.

HONOURS AND AWARDS

  • Editorial Board Member - The Cell Surface
  • Academic Editor - PLoS ONE
  • Conference Organiser – 51st Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Society for Medical Mycology
  • Executive Committee member - British Society for Medical Mycology (2014 - 2017)
  • Grant Reviewer – Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Committee B (UK)

Location

School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences
Office: Room 110 Samuels Building


 

Map reference (Google Maps)

Contact

(+612) 9385-1780
(+612) 9385-1483