Funds are being requested to provide partial support for the 17th Annual South Central Medical Mycology (SCMM) meeting to be held in the student union on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK on November 22-23, 2019. SCMM prides itself on bringing a critical mass of medical mycology researchers together from the south central region of the United States to share the latest research being conducted in the various labs, provide opportunities for collaboration, and promote the development of junior trainees in participating laboratories. The meeting site rotates between university-centered locations in the south central region where fungal-centric laboratories are located. Principal Investigators and students/postdocs from ~15 laboratories usually attend annually (including laboratories in the host city). In total there are upwards of 20 laboratories that have attended one or more of the meetings depending on the location site. Hence, a strong and growing critical mass of medical mycologists have supported this meeting and led to its longevity and significance over the past 17 years. Although the meeting format has evolved over the years, the current format has focused on oral presentations by trainees regarding their most exciting and impactful unpublished data. The small group setting provides a welcoming environment that has been successful in promoting discussion and constructive feedback for trainees. Hence, the primary objectives of the meeting are to 1) bring regionally-based medical mycologists together to share research, initiate collaborations, and provide a venue for trainees to present their latest work, and 2) promote the development of young/junior scientists as a mentoring tool to facilitate their transition into academic scientists or their chosen career path. The funding requested is for trainee travel awards (n=10) and to partially cover travel costs for the keynote speaker.
The importance of scientific meetings cannot be understated. The South Central Medical Mycology (SCMM) meeting is quite unique in that it is focused primarily on presentations of unpublished work by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of all levels from laboratories of successful Principal Investigators (PIs) in the region. The meeting rotates among cities that are home to participating PIs' universities (New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Memphis, Albuquerque, Stillwater, and Oklahoma City). The regional setting also facilitates development of PI collaborations and is an excellent venue to recruit graduate students for post- doctoral positions. The SCMM also provides strong developmental groundwork for the trainees who attend as all presentations are oral, followed by a question/answer session, and later, informal discussions with presenters. Hence, the impact and significance of the meeting has and continues to be high. The 17th Annual SCMM Group meeting will be held in Stillwater, OK at Oklahoma State University.