As the pandemic taught us, our interconnected world is fragile. As we begin to get COVID-19 under control and look to the future, what are the next big threats, and what if they come not from well-studied viruses or bacteria, but from little-known fungi? Join two of the world’s foremost experts on fungal pathogens, Leah Cowen (University of Toronto) and Mat Fisher (Imperial College London), as they discuss how this long-overlooked kingdom may be harbouring our next greatest enemy.
Our 2021 series of Virtual Talks, Brilliant Minds | Bold Questions, explores the most important questions facing science and humanity. Each 30-45 minute talk pairs speakers and moderators from across disciplines, sectors, and the world to explore the questions shaping our collective futures.
Leah Cowen is the co-director of CIFAR’s Fungal Kingdom: Threats & Opportunities program and Associate Vice-President, Research at the University of Toronto. Her laboratory takes an interdisciplinary approach to understand what allows some microbes to exploit the host and cause disease, and to develop new strategies to treat life-threatening infectious disease.
Mat Fisher is a fellow in CIFAR’s Fungal Kingdom: Threats & Opportunities program and a professor at Imperial College London. His research has shown that fungal pathogens are rapidly increasing in their impact worldwide owing to unique epidemiological features that allow them to behave as “Perfect Pathogens” that can drive entire species to extinction and emerge as novel human pathogens.