UAMH Centre for Global Microfungal Biodiversity

UAMH Centre for Global Microfungal Biodiversity

HMB436H / CHL5919H - Medical & Veterinary Mycology

INSTRUCTORS: Dr. James Scott and Dr. Richard Summerbell, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Univ of Toronto
OFFICE: Gage Bldg, 223 College St
TEL: 416 946 8778


This lecture-based course will familiarize students with fungi of public health importance, particularly those that cause disease in humans and other animals. The course will focus on the clinical presentation, pathophysiology, and treatment of fungal infections, as well as the ecology, physiology and evolutionary biology of the agents responsible. The course will also address other ways in which fungi influence human and animal health.


This fall-semester course meets weekly W10-12 in the Health Science Building at 155 Colllege Street, Toronto, in rm 107. Sessions will be in lecture format.
Click here to download the course syllabus for HMB436H.
If you are a graduate student taking this course under CHL5919H, click here for your syllabus.

Why medical mycology?

Mycology is that branch of biology that deals with the study of fungi. Medical mycology, in turn, is the study of fungi that cause disease. Generally speaking, there are relatively few fungi that are capable of causing human disease. By contrast, there are many bacteria and viruses able to infect people or cause them to become ill through other mechanisms. Even though their numbers are few, the fungal agents of human illness are uniquely problematic. This is partly due to the fact that fungi are more closely related to animals than other common disease-causing microbes. This closer relationship means that the drugs intended to disrupt fungal metabolic processes often have pronounced toxicity to humans. Fungal diseases are also interesting because their importance has grown with medical advancements. For example, fungal diseases tend to show up increasingly as complications of other diseases that compromise the immune system, like HIV/AIDS and diabetes, or as a result of treatments that cause immunosuppression, such as those used to treat cancer or to prevent rejection following organ transplantation. Fungi are the seventh most important agents of infection-related death in the United States resulting in nearly double the number of deaths as tuberculosis. If all this sounds interesting, then this course is for you.

Medical mycology photos


I will hold several elective group tutorials, as needed, to assist those having difficulties with the assignment. I'll announce the date and times of tutorials in class. The tutorials will take place in the Gage Building on the University of Toronto campus at 223 College Street room 100. The Gage building is at the corner of College and Ross Streets (roughly midway between University Av and Spadina Av, click here for a map). The entrance to the building is on Ross Street and the door will be locked so you will need to ring the bell. Because of this, I'd ask that you arrive promptly a few minutes before the beginning of the tutorial, otherwise I'll have to stop the tutorial to go to the door and let you in and this will make me grumpy.

PREREQUISITE: 4th year status; HMB265H1/BIO260H1


The textbook used for this course is Reiss E et al. 2011. Fundamental Medical Mycology (FMM). Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell. This excellent textbook is available on line to U of Toronto students free of charge. Readings will be taken from this text to support many of the lectures.

COURSE WIKI (needed for your assignments):
HMB436H - Medical and Veterinary Mycology.