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The Principles of Medical Mycology

Module titleThe Principles of Medical Mycology
Module codeBIOM700Z
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Professor Mark Ramsdale (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will develop your basic knowledge of fungi in the widest sense and fungal diseases in particular. You will cover topics relating to fungal taxonomy and identification, the characteristics of fungal growth, the wider importance of fungi to society and their roles in the natural world. A major focus will be on fungal pathogenicity and host interactions, fungal infections and their diagnosis and treatment.

The module will provide you with core information enabling you to take BIOM701Z Medically Important Fungi, BIOM702Z Fungal diseases and BIOM703Z Diagnosis and Antifungal therapy.

This module is primarily aimed at clinical practitioners, diagnostic service providers, technicians or scientists and researchers aspiring to specialise in Medical Mycology.

This module is available as a fully distance learning course via our online learning platform (ELE).


Module aims - intentions of the module

This module forms a basic introduction to the principles of fungi and fungal disease.  The core content will examine the foundations of modern medical mycology and reflect more widely on the impact of fungi on society, ecosystems and health at a global scale.  The module will give an overview of the diversity of fungi and fungal pathogens and the identification / diagnosis of fungal diseases. The module will also consider aspects of the molecular and cellular biology of fungi, fungal physiology and fungal evolution that contribute to the success of fungi as pathogens (both plant and animal). The module will also explore the dynamic relationship between fungal pathogens and their hosts – in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised settings.  Finally, current approaches to therapy will be explored. The module will incorporate current research findings and promote independent learning and peer conversation.  Key examples in the module will be taken from studies on Candida albicans,Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillus fumigatus.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles of fungal taxonomy and their identification
  • 2. Describe, and be familiar with the basic characteristics of fungal growth including dimorphism (differences between yeast - moulds - thermally dimorphic fungi).
  • 3. Show greater awareness of the importance of fungi in a modern healthcare setting and the epidemiology / spread of pathogens across the globe
  • 4. Demonstrate understanding of modern techniques to study fungal pathogens.
  • 5. Possess an awareness of diagnostic and treatment approaches currently in use, and consider future needs and developments
  • 6. Demonstrate a basic understanding of host-pathogen interactions from both the perspective of the host and the pathogen.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of fungal taxonomy and identification
  • 8. Describe the epidemiology of fungal diseases with relevant examples

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Develop the skills for independent study
  • 10. Analyse ideas, principles and theories
  • 11. Interpret appropriate data, drawing on a range of sources with limited guidance
  • 12. Communicate accurately and effectively with peers, tutors and the public

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will commence with a short 'orientation' video, which provides full details of the module aims, content, and what is expected of students in relation to learning objectives and assessments.  The module will the explore the key topics via eight core content segments – each delivered through a combination of pre-recorded lectures, videos and guided reading / skills based activities.

The module is organised to introduce topics as follows:

  • Introduction to module aims and expectations
  • Basic foundations of medical mycology and fungal infection
  • Fungal taxonomy and identification
  • The characteristics of fungal growth, fungal physiology and metabolism
  • Fungal pathogenicity
  • Epidemiology of fungal disease
  • Antifungal host responses
  • Principles of diagnosis and treatment

All of the core learning material will be available from the start, allowing students to work at their own pace.

There will be a one live (online) session, over the course of the module and details of this will be on the module virtual learning environment support pages. During this session you will meet the module coordinator and work through a case-study task that supports your understanding of the course material. 

Each lecture /content delivery segment will have embedded formative H5P quizzes to work through to check your understanding of the taught material. You can repeat these quizzes multiple times if you need to refresh your memory, especially if some time has lapsed between episodes of studying for the module. There will be a formative MCQ paper to test your understanding before you compete the final assessment. The final module assessment will only be made available once all elements have been completed.

The recommended textbook, and associated module reading lists, provide foundation and background knowledge.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Learning and teaching activities15Online lectures and content delivery (asynchronous)
Learning and teaching activities5Tutor guided online discussion forum (asynchronous and synchronous)
Guided independent study10Online embedded quizzes and feedback
Guided independent study10Preparation for and taking formative multiple choice exams (repeat attempts will be allowed)
Guided independent study80Independent review of lecture material (30 h) and guided literature research (50 h)
Guided independent study30Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online embedded quizzes40 minutes, weekly1-8Online - automated
Formative MCQ1 hour, by the end of the module1-8Online - automated
Discussion forum1 hourAllOnline - verbally

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
End of module MCQ1001 hour1-8Online - automated


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
End of module MCQEnd of module MCQ1-8Typically within 8 weeks of the original result

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further critical synthetic report. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the mark and will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Kibbler et al (2018) Oxford Textbook of Medical Mycology. Oxford University Press. Print ISBN-13:9780198755388. DOI:10.1093/med/9780198755388.001.0001


Textbook available to course participants via e-resource link

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Relevant papers will be included within each section of the module

Key words search

Medical Mycology, Fungal pathogens

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

BIOM701Z, BIO702Z, BIO703Z

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date