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Medical Mycology

Module titleMedical Mycology
Module codeBIOM534
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Steven Bates (Convenor)

Dr Alexandra Brand (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Fungal pathogens have a major impact on human health, killing as many people as malaria each year. This Medical Mycology module will provide you with insight into the key concepts relating to human fungal pathogenesis, from fungal virulence to immune defences and patient susceptibility. It will describe the biology of fungal pathogens (including the mechanisms that promote colonisation and infection), how our immune system combats these infections, antifungal drugs and diagnostics used by clinicians, and the problem of emerging antifungal drug resistance.

This module is taught by members of the Medical Research Council Centre for Medical Mycology.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The main aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of fundamental principles in medical mycology and fungal immunology. After an introduction to key concepts in the field, you will be taught about the nature of fungal infections, state-of-the-art research approaches that are being applied to dissect molecular mechanisms underlying fungal pathogenesis, the processes that underlie antifungal immunity, and how fungal infections are treated in the clinic. The module will also provide basic training in aseptic technique, safe handling and culture of pathogenic fungi, molecular tools, immunology, cytometry and bioinformatics tools. In addition to learning about this clinically important field, you will engage with original research literature, develop research level critical thinking skills in in medical mycology and fungal immunology, and learn to communicate complex ideas to both groups and individuals.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Discuss critically a variety of types of fungal disease, their impact on human health, and how they are diagnosed.
  • 2. Describe in detail the types of antifungal drug that are used to treat fungal infections, and the emerging problem of antifungal drug resistance.
  • 3. Outline and critically evaluate the mechanisms by which a range of different fungal pathogens cause disease in humans, including their virulence factors and fitness attributes.
  • 4. Describe the mechanisms by which immune cells recognise fungal pathogens and clear them from host tissues.
  • 5. Summarise bioinformatic, genomic, genetic, molecular, cellular and immunological approaches that are currently employed to research fungal pathogenesis and immunology.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Evaluate in detail research approaches that are used to investigate fungal pathogenesis and disease with reference to primary literature, reviews and research articles.
  • 7. Analyse in depth essential facts and theory in this subdiscipline of the biosciences.
  • 8. Analyse and evaluate independently a range of research-informed literature and synthesise research-informed examples from the literature into written work.
  • 9. With limited guidance, deploy established approaches of analysis and enquiry within the biological and biomedical sciences.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 10. Communicate effectively (orally and/or in written work) arguments, evidence and conclusions in a manner appropriate to the intended audience.
  • 11. Devise and sustain, with little guidance, a logical and reasoned argument with sound, convincing conclusions.
  • 12. Analyse and evaluate appropriate data with very limited guidance.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

This module will explore the following topics in medical mycology via a combination of lectures, research seminars and video demonstrations that include data for analysis and interpretation:

  • Fungal pathogens, disease and antifungal therapies
  • Fungal virulence and fitness
  • Antifungal immunity
  • Research approaches in fungal pathogenesis
  • Research approaches in antifungal

In addition, you will deliver assessed reports on data handling/interpretation and an assessed essay on a selected topic in medical mycology. 

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
Scheduled learning and teaching18Lectures and Q&A
Scheduled learning and teaching18Laboratory practicals
Guided independent study24Practical report preparation
Guided independent study90Guided reading of literature / essay preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Lecturer feedback during sessions (lectures and module round-up)Ad hoc1-4, 10, 12Oral

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
Data handling/interpretation report 1202x A4 pages of text, plus figures & references9-12Written
Data handling/interpretation report 2202x A4 pages of text, plus figures & references9-12Written
Data handling/interpretation report 3202x A4 pages of text, plus figures & references9-12Written
Essay401500 words1-10Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Data handling/interpretation report 1Data handling/interpretation report 1 (20%)9-12February-March Ref/Def
Data handling/interpretation report 2Data handling/interpretation report 2 (20%)9-12February-March Ref/Def
Data handling/interpretation report 3Data handling/interpretation report 3 (20%)9-12February-March Ref/Def
EssayEssay (40%)1-10February-March Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons that are approved by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. If deferred, the format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). The mark given for a deferred assessment 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 (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) and the module cannot be condoned, you will be required to complete a re-assessment for each of the failed components on the module. The format and timing of the re-assessment for each of the summative assessments is detailed in the table above ('Details of re-assessment'). If you pass the module following re-assessment, your module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Primary research literature and review articles chosen by the module co-ordinators and students as required.
  • Casadevall A et al. Human Fungal Pathogens Cold Spring harbour Laboratory Press (2015)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Medical mycology, fungal disease, pathogenicity, virulence, antifungal immunity, antifungal drugs, infection

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date