Molecular Mycology: Current Approaches to Fungal Pathogenesis

Course Information

Course Date: July 17 – August 2, 2019 Apply Here

Deadline: March 29, 2019

2018 Lecture Schedule (PDF)

Directors: Damian Krysan, University of Iowa; and Xiaorong Lin, University of Georgia

Financial Information: Tuition: $3,200.00; Room & Board: $1,200.00. 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 2018, 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 80-100% of student need.

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.
2018 Course Faculty and Staff


Aaron Mitchell, Carnegie Mellon University
Andrew Alspaugh, Duke University School of Medicine
David Andes, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Deborah Hogan, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Donald C. Sheppard, McGill University
John E. Edwards, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Joseph Heitman, Duke University
James B. Konopka, Stony Brook
Robert A. Cramer, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Robert Wheeler, University of Maine
Theodore C. White, University Of Missouri – Kansas City


Sven Krappmann, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg
Patrick Westfall, Zymergen
Tamara Doering, Washington University at St. Louis
Jeremy Day, University of Oxford, Medical Science Division
Jim Kronstad, University of British Columbia
Brendan Cormack, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Gorge Deepe, University of Cincinnati Medical Center
Leah Cowen, University of Toronto
Nathan Wiederhold, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio

Teaching Assistants:

Yumeng Fan, University of Georgia
Virginia Glazier, Niagara University
Elisa Vesely, University of Texas – Houston Medical School
Norma Solis, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Sarah Beattie, University of Iowa
Linda Archambault, University of Maine

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