INSTRUCTORS: Dr. James Scott and Dr. Richard Summerbell, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University 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.

The course will meet weekly W10-12 in the Rosebrugh Building (RS) at 164 College Street, Rm 310. Sessions will be in lecture format. Click here to download the course syllabus. If you are a graduate student taking this course under CHL5919H, click here for your syllabus. I will post lecture notes on Quercus.

I will hold two evening tutorials to assist those having difficulties with the assignment. Each tutorial will be repeated once in the same time slot, 6-8 pm, on different dates. Topic 1: Researching your outline (Oct 3, Oct 10); Topic 2: Polishing your article (Nov 14, Nov 21). 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


  • Fisher MC et al. 2012. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant & ecosystem health. Nature 484: 186-194.
  • Levetin E et al. 2016. Taxonomy of allergenic fungi. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice 4(3): 375-385.
  • Reiss E et al. 2011. Fundamental Medical Mycology. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell. This excellent textbook is available on line to U of Toronto students free of charge. I'll refer to it as FMM.
  • Stein CM et al. 2015. Fulminant hepatic failure following ingestion of wild mushrooms.CMAJ 187:822-824.

COURSE WIKI (needed for your assignments):
HMB436H - Medical and Veterinary Mycology (2018 Fall). You will need to enroll on Wikipedia for the assignment - CLICK HERE TO ENROLL.

Sep 12, 2018 Topic: Fungal structure, function, and phylogenetics
Reading: FMM, Chapter 1

Sep 19, 2018 Topic: Physiology and ecology of fungi
Reading: Fisher MC et al. 2012. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health. Nature 484: 186-194.

Sep 26, 2018 Topic: White nose syndrome, amphibian chytridiosis, insect mycoses, etc.
Reading: none.

Oct 03, 2018 Topic: Poisonous mushrooms
Reading: Stein CM, Wu PE, Scott JA, Weinerman AS. 2015. Fulminant hepatic failure following ingestion of wild mushrooms. CMAJ 187:822-824.

Oct 10, 2018 Topic: Allergy, asthma and mould
Reading: Levetin E et al. 2016. Taxonomy of allergenic fungi. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice 4(3): 375-385.

Oct 17, 2018 MIDTERM EXAMINATION (location: Rosebrugh Bldg, 164 College St (RS) Rm 310; time: 10-12)

Oct 24, 2018 Topic: Dermatomycosis & superficial mycoses
Reading: FMM, Chapter 21

Oct 31, 2018 Topic: Histoplasmosis & blastomycosis
Reading: FMM, Chapter 6 and Chapter 4


Nov 14, 2018 Topic: Coccidiodomycosis & paracoccidioidomycosis
Reading: FMM, Chapter 5 and Chapter 7

Nov 21, 2018 Topic: Aspergillosis, sporotrichosis, zygomycosis & rhinosporidiosis
Reading: FMM, Chapter 14, Chapter 9 and Chapter 17

Nov 28, 2018 Topic: Candidiasis & cryptococcosis
Reading: FMM, Chapter 11 and Chapter 12

Dec 05, 2018 Topic: Miscellaneous mycoses
Reading: none.


  • A mid-term test will held Oct 17, 2018 from 10-12 in the regular lecture room. It will cover all lecture materials discussed up to Oct 10, 2018. Although the content of the readings will not be covered specifically, you will probably not do well if you do not complete the readings. The test will be worth 30 % of your final mark and will be in multiple choice, true/false & short answer format.

  • When I have taught this course in the past, I have included a written assignment where students each prepare a fully-referenced "biography" of a particular fungus, something along the lines of the popular "Fungus of the Month" blog, developed by my friend and colleague Professor Tom Volk at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. These short articles are fun to read and fun to write, and I was always impressed with what my students produced, but I felt that more should be accomplished by their efforts. So this year we're changing things up a bit, instead of handing in the same old type of assignment that will become forgotten almost as soon as it was written, we are going to make a lasting mark and write a set of articles on medically-important fungi for Wikipedia. Although there are a whole bunch of very good Wikipedia articles on fungi, there are really a lot of fungi to go! And many of the better-known, really important species are still not included. This is our chance to change that. It will be fun but it won't be easy. Because Wikipedia is a real online encyclopedia, there are a number of rules you will need to learn and follow, particularly about how to write the article, the tone you must use, the critical importance of backing up each fact you present with an appropriate citation, and a number of other issues that you will learn as you work through the assignment and we discuss your work in class. You will be each assigned a different biomedically important fungus. The project overall is worth 35 % of your grade, and it is broken-up into 4 assignments as follows:

    Assignment #1: Wikipedia enrolment and training - due Sept 21, 2018 at 23:59 UTC (1 %)
    Assignment #2: Referenced outline - due Oct 12, 2018 at 23:59 UTC (10 %)
    Assignment #3: Three peer reviews - due Nov 2, 2018 at 23:59 UTC (6 %)
    Assignment #4: Final article - due Nov 23, 2018 at 23:59 UTC (18%)

    Even if you are not yet enrolled in the course, I expect you to complete assignments 1 & 2 on time! I will grade your assignments based on the last "save" date prior to the due date on the Wikipedia timestamp. Except for medical reasons in accordance with the HMB policy (on the HMB website) or in prior agreement with me at least 1 week in advance of the due date, I will not grade late assignments; however, even if you miss an assignment, you must complete it before the next one is due so that you stay on track.

  • A final examination to be held at a place and time to be announced. It will count for 35 % of your final mark. All material covered in the lectures will be tested. The format of this examination will be a combination of short answer questions and brief case studies.