Dr Rebecca Drummond

Dr Rebecca Drummond, a fungal immunologist and Birmingham Fellow in the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy, has been awarded a five-year Career Development Award (CDA) from the MRC to further her research into fungal immunology.

The MRC’s CDA supports talented post-doctoral researchers to lead their own research plans and establish their own research team to make the transition from post-doctoral researcher to independent investigator.

Dr Drummond, who joined the University of Birmingham in June 2018, has so far focussed her research on understanding how our immune systems deal with fungal infections that can be life-threatening, especially in vulnerable patients (for example, cancer patients).

The CDA will help Dr Drummond kick-start research into how brain immune cells deal with fungal invaders, which is currently very poorly studied.

Animal models and transgenic fungi will be used by Dr Drummond and her lab to study the behaviour of immune cells in the brain during infection; animal models will allow researchers to manipulate the function and number of brain immune cells so that they can study the impact of these manipulations on how the infection progresses and responds to treatment.

“We would like to provide new insights into how fungal infection of the brain might be treated in the future, using immune-based drugs and vaccines developed from the information gained from our research,” Dr Drummonds explains.

“The Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy has a large concentration of immunologists who also have interests in fighting infection and disease. They will be able to share valuable animal models with us that will be necessary for our research.

“It’s been great to have the importance of this research recognised by the MRC and I'm looking forward to expanding my new lab with this award.”