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Germinating spores of Aspergillus fumigatus Germinating spores of Aspergillus fumigatus
Germinating spores of Aspergillus fumigatus Germinating spores of Aspergillus fumigatus

Aspergillus spores are incredibly tiny, tough fungal seeds that germinate to form the germ tube and later hyphae. Germination is affected by temperature, humidity and pH among other factors.

About 3-4% of the population, including many asthma sufferers, are allergic to the proteins coating the surface of fungal spores. Levels of spores from most species peak during June-Sep, but aspergillus also peaks in Jan-Feb.

We all inhale hundreds of Aspergillus spores every day, but in healthy people they are cleared by white blood cells that engulf them before they have the chance to germinate. Stopping them from germinating is one potential way of preventing disease.

This picture shows a scanning electron micrograph of germinating Aspergillus fumigatus spores (provided by KM Lord and ND Read). In this picture the spores are clustered in the middle, with the germ tubes radiating outwards.

Read more and view the current spore level report

Aspergillus niger Micrographs of A. niger conidia & conidial heads provided by Amaliya Stepanova, Head of Laboratory pathomorphology and cytology at Kashkin Research Institute, Russian Federation. A niger conidial head TEM in vitro, A niger mature conidium TEM in vitro
A niger conidial head TEM in vitro, A niger mature conidium TEM in vitro Aspergillus niger Micrographs of A. niger conidia & conidial heads provided by Amaliya Stepanova, Head of Laboratory pathomorphology and cytology at Kashkin Research Institute, Russian Federation.
Aspergillus terreus Micrographs of A. terreus conidia & conidial heads provided by Amaliya Stepanova, , Head of Laboratory pathomorphology and cytology at Kashkin Research Institute, Russian Federation. A terreus aleurospore TEM in vitro, A terreus mature conidium SEM in vitro, A terreus mature conidial head SEM in vitro
A terreus aleurospore TEM in vitro, A terreus mature conidium SEM in vitro, A terreus mature conidial head SEM in vitro Aspergillus terreus Micrographs of A. terreus conidia & conidial heads provided by Amaliya Stepanova, , Head of Laboratory pathomorphology and cytology at Kashkin Research Institute, Russian Federation.
Electron Microscopy: Aspergillus fumigatus Micrographs of A. fumigatus conidia & conidial heads provided by Amaliya Stepanova, , Head of Laboratory pathomorphology and cytology at Kashkin Research Institute, Russian Federation. Conidial head (SEM), Part of conidial head (SEM), Mature conidia (SEM), Hyphae (SEM), Murine lung tissue (TEM)
Conidial head (SEM), Part of conidial head (SEM), Mature conidia (SEM), Hyphae (SEM), Murine lung tissue (TEM) Electron Microscopy: Aspergillus fumigatus Micrographs of A. fumigatus conidia & conidial heads provided by Amaliya Stepanova, , Head of Laboratory pathomorphology and cytology at Kashkin Research Institute, Russian Federation.
Aspergillus clavatus Isolate from environmental sample A. clavatus, A. clavatus, A. clavatus
A. clavatus, A. clavatus, A. clavatus Aspergillus clavatus Isolate from environmental sample
ABPA complicated by severe varicose bronchiectasis Patients has history of ABPA complicating long standing asthma. His total IgE has fluctuated between 2,200 and 4,600 KU/L, his Aspergillus IgE between 36.3 and 65.4 kAU/L and Aspergillus IgG from 87-154 mg/L. He has been taking long term read more... December 2012, May 2012, December 2012, February 2010
December 2012, May 2012, December 2012, February 2010 ABPA complicated by severe varicose bronchiectasis Patients has history of ABPA complicating long standing asthma. His total IgE has fluctuated between 2,200 and 4,600 KU/L, his Aspergillus IgE between 36.3 and 65.4 kAU/L and Aspergillus IgG from 87-154 mg/L. He has been taking long term read more...

The CT scan (3 cuts from the same scan in 2012) shows background  paraseptal  and  centrilobular  emphysema  and  the  distribution  of  the  varicoid  bronchiectasis (i.e. upper lobe predominant and central)  is  consistent  with  ABPA.  There  are no  areas  of  consolidation  or  evidence  of  interstitial  lung  disease.  Several fluid  levels  are seen within  the  airways  together with bronchial  wall  thickening   throughout  the  right  hemithorax. There  is  almost  no evidence  of  exudative  small  airways  disease  (i.e.  no  small  airway  impaction).

The chest Xrays show mild  cardiomegaly.  There are  background  chronic  interstitial  changes  of  a  coarsened  reticulonodular  pattern,  with  an  area  of more  prominent  pulmonary  fibrotic  change  in  the  right  mid  zone.    Minor apical thickening noted.   

Ira F. Salkin 1941-2016
Ira F. Salkin 1941-2016

Obituary written on ISHAM website:

December 21, 1941- March 2, 2016
It is with deep sadness that we announce that Ira F. Salkin, PhD died on March 2, 2016 having lost his long battle with COPD and congestive heart failure.  His passing is a great loss to the community of medical mycology.  Born in Chicago, Ira attended Northwestern University for both his Bachelors and Master degrees (1959-1964) prior to moving west to earn his PhD in 1969 from the University of California, Berkeley.  Ira began a long career in mycology with his doctoral work, where he used his NSF pre-doctoral award to study the biology of aquatic fungi.  Upon completion of his PhD he moved east to Albany New York where he spent the next 32 years with the New York State Department of Health in the Wadsworth Laboratories, later to become a Director of numerous State laboratories and programs.  These included the Medical Mycology Laboratories, Clinical Laboratory Approval Program, Biological Safety, Medical Waste and Quality Control.  During his career he published more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed journal and chapters in textbooks.

Ira was deeply involved in several scientific societies and was recognized by his peers for his energetic efforts in these societies. He was a long-standing member the American Society for Microbiology, was the Chair of Division F in 1990-91 and was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.  He received the Lippmann Award for Scientific Achievement of the Medical Mycology Society of New York. In 1991, Ira was awarded the Billy H. Cooper award from the Medical Mycology Society of the Americas in recognition of his efforts in clinical mycology, as well as the Meridian Award.  In 2015, Ira was granted the Distinguished Service award by ISHAM, which speaks for itself.

Ira’s great passion was scientific publication ranging from the ethics of publication to journal editing, which amounted to possibly some of his greatest contributions Over  the last 25 years Ira served as an Editor of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology from 1990-2000, the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Biosafety from 2001-2004, and from 2004 through 2015 he was the Editor-in-Chief of Medical Mycology. This also made him an ex officio member of the Council of ISHAM.  As part of his efforts for Medical Mycology he organized very popular sessions at three separate ISHAM congresses directed toward young scientists on how to write and publish a scientific paper.  His speaking style and wit, intermingled with his pearls of publishing and writing wisdom, were always well received. He was a  very difficult act to follow especially if you were the next speaker. His efforts as the Editor in Chief of ISHAM’s own journal, Medical Mycology, were unparalleled as he raised the visibility and impact of the journal but also improved the quality of many articles as copy editor and even smoothed the grammar of the accepted manuscripts.  This may not always have been received well but most authors were very pleased once they saw their work in press. As relayed to us by his loving wife Kay, “Ira was always happiest when sitting at his computer working on a manuscript”.

For those of us privileged to know Ira well, he was a man with a very quick, dry wit, had an eager willingness to “argue” a point aggressively without hostility and was someone who had  vast life experience, which he was willing to share especially over a night cap of a good malt uisge beatha or "water of life" of Scottish provenance.  His liberal views in politics and other areas, possibly a holdover from his days in Berkeley in the ‘60’s, guided these discussions.  Ira enjoyed many informal symposia i.e., a fine meal  and libation during which he and his companions solved many of the problems of the world.  Ira was a good colleague and a great friend to many and selflessly put others ahead of himself.  He was indeed a scholar and a gentleman. Those of us who counted Ira a friend will miss him greatly. The Medical Mycology community has also lost one of its shining beacons.
Ira is survived by his devoted wife, Kay (Brown) Salkin; stepdaughters, Lori Hewig and Beth (Gerard) Weir; stepson, William (Tracy) Schwarz; son, Daniel; and grandchildren, Lindsay and Elise Weir, and Benjamin and Cameran Schwarz. Ira was pre-deceased by parents, Irving and Mollie Salkin, and brother, Marshall Salkin. 

We invite anyone wishing to relate a story concerning Ira to send it to the ISHAM website for inclusion in this tribute to an important member of the Medical Mycology community.

Karl V. Clemons, Chester R. Cooper, J. Peter Donnelly
April, 2016

Haemofungin
E1210 structure
ABPA and mucoid impaction Patient YML ABPA and mucoid impaction Image 1, Patient YML ABPA and mucoid impaction Image 2
Patient YML ABPA and mucoid impaction Image 1, Patient YML ABPA and mucoid impaction Image 2 ABPA and mucoid impaction
74 year old woman, known to have ABPA without asthma, bronchiectasis and oesophagitis and reflux. Presented originally age 68 years and improved with itraconazole. This was stopped and she continued on daily hypertonic saline nebulisers, with continuing cough. 
 
Relapsed with chronic cough and increasing breathlessness. She had a trachea deviated to the left and silent breath sounds in the left upper zone and left base. A bronchoscopy showed mucoid impaction and complete occlusion of the left upper and left lower lobes with thick mucus. This was removed with saline and suction, and distally the airways were normal. Her total and Aspergillus specific IgE had risen from 1100 kU/L and 13.0 kAU/L in August 2015 to 5100 kU/l and 21.6 kAU/L in November 2015. Her Aspergillus IgG also rose from 44mg/L to 102 mg/L over the same period.
 
She continued on prednisolone and itraconazole was restarted. She improved and her chest Xray abnormalities resolved.
 
Patient JSG: Nicotine stained fingers in ABPA with bronchiectasis Patient with chronic productive cough, chest pain and ABPA, unable to take itraconazole or nebulised amphotericin B. Smokes at least 40 roll up cigarettes a day. Nicotine stained fingers - image 1, Nicotine stained fingers - image 2
Nicotine stained fingers - image 1, Nicotine stained fingers - image 2 Patient JSG: Nicotine stained fingers in ABPA with bronchiectasis Patient with chronic productive cough, chest pain and ABPA, unable to take itraconazole or nebulised amphotericin B. Smokes at least 40 roll up cigarettes a day.
T-2307 The chemical structure of the novel arylamidine T-2307
T-2307 The chemical structure of the novel arylamidine T-2307
Laryngeal Aspergillosis, ptSA Laryngeal aspergillosis, probably related to inhaled corticosteroids. Image A., Image B., Image C., Image D.
Image A., Image B., Image C., Image D. Laryngeal Aspergillosis, ptSA Laryngeal aspergillosis, probably related to inhaled corticosteroids.
VL-2397 (ASP2397) VL-2397 (formerly known as ASP2397) is a novel antifungal drug initially developed by our partner, Astellas Pharma. This drug was isolated from a leaf litter fungus Acremonium species collected in a Malaysian national park. Astellas presented two read more... VL-2397 (ASP2397)
VL-2397 (ASP2397) VL-2397 (ASP2397) VL-2397 (formerly known as ASP2397) is a novel antifungal drug initially developed by our partner, Astellas Pharma. This drug was isolated from a leaf litter fungus Acremonium species collected in a Malaysian national park. Astellas presented two read more...
SCY-078 (MK-3118) SCY-078, new orally available beta-1,3-d-glucan synthase inhibitor, Formely MK-3118. SCY-078, new orally available beta-1,3-d-glucan synthase inhibitor
SCY-078, new orally available beta-1,3-d-glucan synthase inhibitor SCY-078 (MK-3118) SCY-078, new orally available beta-1,3-d-glucan synthase inhibitor, Formely MK-3118.

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