Unlike other pathogenic microbes that can infect humans – such as viruses and bacteria – fungi are some of the least studied, and least understood. Yet they kill around 1.5 million people each year, worldwide.
The Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology (MRC CMM) at the University of Exeter uses innovative research to tackle the urgent health threat posed by these microbes worldwide by advancing our understanding of, and practice in, diagnostics and clinical treatment; fungal biology and pathogenesis; drug resistance and design; immunology and immunotherapy.
The MRC CMM worked with Devon based artist collective Still/Moving to create a sculptural installation which will become an icon of how biological research can tackle these devastating diseases caused by microscopic fungi and prevent and minimize human fungal diseases globally, whilst sharing a positive vision for the future.
The sculpture, made from recycled bronze, represents three different biological structures – the small round conidia spores, which stretch into the long thin hyphae, representing the fungi themselves. The large spiky macrophages are the human immune cells that fight infection. Together, the shape is imagined as the path fungi take through a human tissue sample, as they seek out nutrients.
The finished sculpture can be found on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, outside of the Geoffrey Pope Building. It is part of the University’s Fine Art Collection. Information about the launch event can be found here.