Chair in Microbiology
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, Edinburgh 1979. PhD, Aberdeen 1983, FRSE, FSB, FAAM
Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (WTSA) for Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology (MMFI). Director: Professor Neil Gow
Prof. Neil Gow FMedSci FRSE FIBiol FAAM
Professor Gow graduated with a B.Sc. from Edinburgh University in 1979 and a Ph.D. from Aberdeen University. He was a research fellow in Denver, before returning to Aberdeen as a faculty member in 1984. He is a founding member of the Aberdeen Fungal Group and contributed to building this group to its current status as one of the largest centres of excellence for medical mycology. Recently the AFG acquired MRC Centre Status in Medical Mycology for which he is Co-Director for research (Director Professor Gordon Brown). Under his direction this group was awarded a Wellcome Trust Strategic to coordinate research and training activity and build capacity in the field of medical mycology and fungal immunology across the UK and in developing countries. He holds a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award and, along with Daan van Aalten, a recent Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award. He is a fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences, Institute of Biology, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the American Academy of Microbiologists and is a former President of the British Mycological Society and of of ISHAM (the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology). He is the current President of the Microbiology Society (2016-2019). He was a recent Editor in Chief of Fungal Genetics and Biology and helped establish the new ISHAM journal Medical Mycology Case Reports.
Professor Gow's research is focussed on: (i) the molecular genetics of cell wall biosynthesis in pathogenic fungi - in particular the genetics of glycosylation and the fungus-host interaction in relation to immune recognition and function, (ii) chitin synthesis and the response to antifungal agents; (iii) directional growth responses of fungal cells; (iv) the virulence properties of medically important fungal species; (v) the evolution, genome biology and genotyping of Candida species. He has published over 280 research papers and reviews in these areas.
Professor Gow has recently been awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (starts 2013). A summary of this programme of research is given below.
Title: Making and breaking the walls of fungal pathogens
The cell wall of fungal pathogens determines their pathobiology and immunological signatures. It is the ideal target for chemotherapies and immunotherapies because all the major cell wall components are essential and fungal-specific. Professor Gow wishes to inform therapeutic strategies through an understanding of how the cell wall is assembled and how it is recognised by the immune system. He will investigate key assembly processes and functions of the extended gene families that articulate cell wall, and deploy novel screens, phenotyping methods and in vitro synthetic biology approaches to dissect the functions of key families of cell wall genes. The programme of research will also define chemical structure of cell wall molecules that stimulate, attenuate and imprint the innate and adaptive responses of the immune system. Combinations of host and pathogen functional analysis tools are being used to study the key immunologically relevant cell wall glycoconjugates. These complementary approaches advances our understanding of therapeutically tractable targets of the cell wall, and will inform the design of new generations of therapeutics and diagnostics.
Current Research Group:
Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Group: Dr Bhawna Yadav; Dr Katja Schaefer, Dr Kathy Lee, Mr Iain Cunningham (+ 1 vacancy)
Wellcome Trust Strategic Award: Dr Jeanette Wagener; Dr Karen McArdle (Administrator)
PhD Students: Fiona Rudkin (SULSA BioSkape); Mariana Almeida (FungiBrain); Jehan Abdelmoneim (AU); Fernanda Alonso (WTSA); Ingrida Raziunaite (AU)
Past President: International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM)
Director of Research and Commercialisation - College of Life Sciences and Medicine
Director of the Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (WTSA) for Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology (MMFI)