The Molecular Mycology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts is an intensive training course for research on human fungal pathogens. This course is designed for advanced graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty. Over the past fourteen years, this course has successfully advanced both the use of genetic techniques in the study of pathogenic fungi and the use of in vitro, cell culture and animal models of human fungal infections and their treatment. The course has also been responsible for recruiting outstanding new investigators to the field of medical mycology. A major part of the course is the participation of a large number of faculty from within the fungal pathogenesis community. Interaction between students and faculty in the intimate setting of the MBL provides connections for the students as they launch independent careers. Furthermore, the course has a history of fostering highly productive collaborations between mycology research teams. Thus, the course has played a major role in elevating the level at which fungal pathogenesis research is performed, fostering interactions and the exchange of ideas within the community, and advancing the careers of individuals who are now becoming leaders in the field. The Molecular Mycology course is evolving to meet the needs of the current students. The course has begun a process of rotating leadership to ensure broad representation and ownership within the fungal community, and new experiments and topics at the cutting edge of the field are continually added to the curriculum. While the Molecular Mycology course has been largely supported by several funding sources in the past, including student tuition, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the MBL Educational office, and various pharmaceutical companies, these funding sources may not be sufficient to both maintain and develop scientific excellence and to keep student costs low enough that we can recruit the most promising and diverse class possible as we move forward. Thus, the course seeks to partner with NIAID to develop sustained and adequate funding. With such support, the MBL Molecular Mycology course directors and faculty will be able to continue to train the next generation of leaders in medical mycology research who will be instrumental in revealing the key elements of fungal diseases, and developing new therapeutic and diagnostic tools for the management of human fungal infections.
The Molecular Mycology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratories has been an important resource of the medical mycology research community since its inception fourteen years ago. The goal of this course is to train the next generation of leaders in medical mycology research. These scientists will lead the field in developing new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for life-threatening fungal infections in humans.