Model Membrane studies of Amphotericin B's mechanism of action (towards less toxic AmB formulations and new tools for drug/membrane studies)

Amphotericin B (AmB) is an antifungal antibiotic used to treat infections in patients with depressed immune systems, such as cancer patients, organ donor recipients, diabetics and people with AIDS. Fungal infections are thought to account for up to 30 per cent of deaths among these patients. Although effective, use of AmB is limited because it can also cause kidney toxicity. AmB is known to interact with parts of the cell membrane, forming pores that allow leakage and ultimately cause cell death, but this process is poorly understood. Robin Stoodley is researching how the drug interacts with the body at the cellular and molecular levels, with the goal of finding ways to reformulate AmB to reduce its toxicity and improve effectiveness. The techniques Robin develops for this research may also be used to study chemotherapy and other drugs, leading to the development of better drug therapies.