Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogens Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, threatens amphibians worldwide. We’re a fungal pathogens research group based at Imperial College London’s School of Public Health working on the evolution and ecology of the Chytrid pathogens.
Fisher Lab Members
Prof. Mat Fisher
Professor of Fungal Disease Epidemiology
My research uses an evolutionary framework to investigate the biological and environmental factors that are driving emerging fungal diseases in both human, wildlife and plant species. Wildlife species play a key role in the emergence of human emerging infectious disease (EID) by providing a ‘zoonotic pool’ from which previously unknown pathogens emerge. Conversely, human action impacts on patterns of disease by perturbation of natural systems, introduction and spread of pathogenic fungi. The emergence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and now B. salamandrivorans impacting global amphibian populations has been recognised as a major driver of extinction. Our research group is focused on developing mechanistic, statistical and animal-based models to uncover the factors driving these EIDs and to attempt to develop new methods of control.
Dr. Simon O’Hanlon
Post doctoral research assistant
My research interests revolve around the population genetics and global population structure of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. We use whole-genome sequencing using next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to analyse amphibian-infecting chytrids and in so doing, understand how this pathogen has conquered the enormous diversity of hosts and biomes that it now infests worldwide. I started working for the Fisher Lab in February 2014 as a bioinformatician whilst completing my PhD in Onchocerciasis at Imperial College London. Prior to that, I obtained a Masters with Distinction in Modern Epidemiology here in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial. And an even longer-long-long time ago I was an undergraduate doing a BSc in Biology at the University of Bath.
My research focuses on identifying the drivers that underpin patterns of infection dynamics in amphibian populations infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Much of my work is based on a long term epidemiological study of amphibian populations from multiple lake systems in the Pyrenees of France and Spain. I am particularly interested in the role that the host skin mucosal metabolome and commensal microbiota play in disease susceptibility. Prior to joining the Fisher lab I studied Biological Sciences (MSci) at University College London. My PhD is co-supervised with Dr. Trent Garner and Dr. Xavier Harrison at the Institute of Zoology.
I’ve been working for the Fisher Lab since January 2015 after completing my MSc in Conservation Science at Imperial College, London. I’m now researching the ecological interactions of Bd lineages, with a particular focus on BdGPL and BdCape in South Africa. My interest is in establishing whether lineages are co-existing or competing with each other when they meet in a host population with a view to increasing our understanding of how the movement of pathogen strains around the world could impact disease epidemiology and host survival. My PhD is co-supervised by Kris Murray (Grantham Institute, Imperial College London) and Ché Weldon (North-West University, South Africa).
I started with the Fisher Group in February 2015, after working for the University of Oxford investigating genetic determinants of the immune response to P.falciparum malaria. I have an MSc in Epidemiology, specialising in infectious diseases, from Imperial College London, and my undergraduate degree was in Biomedical Science from the University of Warwick. Previous research includes management of footrot in sheep and HPV serotype replacement following widespread vaccination in the UK.
I’ve been working with the Fisher group since September 2016, as research assistant on the amphibian skin mycobiome project. I was lucky to spend my first two weeks in the job on a field trip to Madagascar in an attempt to isolate Bd. I previously worked as a research assistant in zebrafish developmental genetics, and as the core technician and manager for the zebrafish genomics facility, both at UCL. My interest in wildlife conservation led me to complete a postgraduate diploma in Endangered Species Recovery based in Mauritius in 2014, during which I developed field skills working with Durrell and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation on successful reptile and avian species recovery projects.
We are based at Imperial College London and funded by National Environmental Research Council (NERC), the Leverhulme Trust, the Morris Animal Foundation and the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. Click on the logos below to access their webpages.