Molecular Mycology: Current Approaches to Fungal Pathogenesis

Course Information

Watch MoMy WebinarCourse Date: August 14 – August 29, 2021

Deadline: April 15, 2021

2019 Lecture Schedule (PDF)

Directors: David Andes, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Robert Cramer, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

How To Apply

Applications are now closed.

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.

Financial Information: Tuition: $3,300.00; Room & Board: $1,215.00* (*Actual costs may be greater based on number of nights of occupancy). The admissions process at the Marine Biological Laboratory is need-blind, meaning that we evaluate students on their merits alone, without weighing their financial situations. Financial assistance will be considered for those admitted students who are in need. Upon acceptance, students will be asked to complete a financial aid request form if they need assistance.

In 2019, 100% of those students in the Molecular Mycology: Current Approaches to Fungal Pathogenesis course who requested financial aid received some support. The amount of financial aid available from the MBL varies by course based on funding from grants and scholarships, but typically covers 70-100% of student need.

2019 Course Faculty and Staff


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


Anna Selmecki, Creighton University Medical School
Richard Bennett, Brown University
David Boulware, University of Minnesota
Jason Stajich, University of California, Riverside
Jeniel Nett, University of Wisconsin
Julie Djordjevic, University of Sydney
Julian Naglik, King’s College London
John Perfect, Duke University Medical Center
Kirsten Nielsen, University of Minnesota
Sarah Gaffen, University of Pittsburgh
Scott Moye-Rowley, University of Iowa

Teaching Assistants:

Bing Zhai, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Elisa Vesely, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Linda Archambault, University of Maine
Robert Zarnowski, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Sarah Beattie, University of Iowa
Yumeng Fan, University of Georgia

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