UH and CWRU
hired him away
24 years ago,
betting that Ghannoum’s research
and enterprise would be a recipe
for success for the newly created
center. Since then, Ghannoum has
turned the center into a research
juggernaut and the go-to lab for
pharmaceutical companies testing
out new antifungal drugs.
“First and foremost, Dr.
Ghannoum is a risk taker and an
innovator, someone who’s willing
to try out new things and solve
problems and go where other
people might not even try,” says Dr.
Mark Chance, vice dean for research
at CWRU’s School of Medicine.
“He’s a force of nature.”
Ghannoum walks me through a
series of displays on the hallway wall
outside his office showing how his
lab tests new medicines in the test
tube, then in animals, and finally in
The center has more than
30,000 fungal strains on site. So
when an infection hits the news,
such as the discovery of a Candida
auris fungus that is resistant to
current medicines, chances are
it’s already in Ghannoum’s freezer
ready to be studied. The center is
currently working with drug makers
to gain approval for three drugs
that have shown promise against
Candida auris, he says.