Molecular Mycology: Current Approaches to Fungal Pathogenesis

Course Information

Course Date: July 31 – August 16, 2017

Deadline: March 31, 2017 | Apply here

Tuition: $3000.00
Room and Board: $1124.00
Financial Assistance Available: Yes

2017 Lecture Schedule (PDF)

Directors: Damian KrysanUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine, and Xiaorong Lin, Texas A&M University

Course Description

Fungal diseases are significant causes of mortality and morbidity in both the developed and the developing world. The recent increases in the incidence and severity of invasive fungal infections are directly attributable to new susceptible patient populations. Examples of these large, at-risk populations include patients with AIDS; hospitalized patients being treated for cancer and autoimmune disorders; andthose receiving organ transplants. Despite this increasing threat, our understanding of the basic pathophysiology of fungal disease lags far behind our understanding of bacterial, parasitic and viral diseases. Furthermore, the number of antifungal therapies in clinical use is limited, and there is a paucity of novel antifungal strategies in the current drug pipeline. To address the need for more research in the area of fungal diseases, this course aims to:

a) increase students’ breadth of knowledge in fungal pathogenesis research

b) introduce and explore both standard and cutting edge model systems for the analysis of fungal virulence

c) create an environment that fosters interactions and idea-exchange among students, faculty, and the greater mycology research community.

Course material is suitable for advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research faculty, and clinician-scientists.

The specific objectives of the Molecular Mycology course:

  • To present the current conceptual models for the pathogenesis of medically important fungi, with a focus on the most frequently encountered pathogens – Candida, Cryptococcus, and Aspergillus
  • To train students in molecular manipulation of Candida, Cryptococcus, and Aspergillus
  • To provide hands on experience with mammalian, invertebrate, and cell culture models to assess virulence and analyze different types of host-pathogen interactions
  • To present a broad perspective on experimental issues pertinent to pathogenic fungi, such as the definition and determination of virulence, the determination of host responses relevant to infection, and the quantification of antifungal susceptibility
  • To instruct students in techniques relevant to the analysis of the function of fungal gene products such as determination of essentiality, microscopic analysis of morphology and fluorescent protein fusions, comparison of RNA expression profiles of wild-type and mutant strains, assessment of chromosome content
  • To provide insight into the clinical aspects of fungal diseases from the perspective of the host and the pathogen
  • To provide an introduction to tools for comparative genome and transcriptional analysis
  • To discuss research ethics, professional development (academic, industrial, or government careers), and issues specific to the medical mycology field.


2016 Course Faculty & Lecturers

Andrew Alspaugh, Duke University School of Medicine (Signal transduction, pH regulation, cryptococcal pathogenesis)
Robert A. Cramer, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (Fungal Immunology, Aspergillus pathogenesis)
John E. Edwards, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (Animal models of fungal diseases; clinical mycology)
Joseph Heitman, Duke University (Research talk, career development, student interactions)
Deborah Hogan, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (Inter-kingdom interaction)
James B. Konopka, Stony Brook (Advanced Workshop in Microscopy)
Aaron Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University (Genetics tools to study fungal pathogenesis)
Donald C. Sheppard, McGill University (Aspergillus fumigatus: Molecular Manipulation and Host-pathogen Interaction)
Melanie Wellington, University of Rochester School of Medicine (Fungal host interaction)
Theodore C. White, University Of Missouri – Kansas City (Antifungal susceptibility and resistance mechanisms)


Karl Kuchler Vienna, Medical University of Vienna
YongSun Bahn, Yonsei University
David Ande, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Tobias Hohl, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Anita Sil, UCSF
Li-Jun Ma, University of Massachusetts Amherst
William Steinbach, Duke University
Christina Hull, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Richard Bennett, Brown University
Terry Roemer, Merck

Teaching Assistants:

Virginia Glazier, University of Rochester School of Medicine
Pedro Miramon-Martinez, University of Texas – Houston Medical School
Norma Solis, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Srijana Upadhyay, Texas A&M University
Alex Hopke, University Of Maine
Sourabh Dhingra, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Course coordinator:

Carol Edwards, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Course Support

This course is supported with funds provided by
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Howard Hughes Medical Institute