A Montana State University grad student has discovered a molecule critical to lung infection immunity.

Alayna Caffrey researches the early immune response against Aspergillus fumigatus, a common mold that can be found in soil or compost piles. The mold causes severe lung infections in people with weakened immune systems, perhaps compromised by leukemia, chemotherapy or organ transplants.

The death rate from Aspergillus fumigatus ranges from 30 to 90%, depending on the population, Caffrey said.

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