Department of Dermatology

Center for Medical Mycology

Research at the CMM is devoted to the following main areas:

  1. Characterization of the oral mycobiome and its relevance to oral and intestinal health
  2. Characterization of fungal biofilms and treatment options
  3. Determination of virulence factors responsible for the pathogenesis of fungi including dermatophytes, Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus. and other systemic and opportunistic fungal pathogens
  4. Determination of the mechanism of action of different antifungal agents
  5. Pre-clinical studies of novel antifungals, including in vitro and in vivo testing using reference isolates from an extensive culture collection
  6. Central laboratory mycology services for national and international clinical trials
Of particular relevance in the clinical laboratory area are the microdilution methods we developed for determining the susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans and dermatophytes. We have shown that these method are reproducible, easy to perform, and have both intra- and inter-laboratory agreement. Critically, we demonstrated that cryptococcal susceptibility to fluconazole is an important predictor of treatment success for patients with acute AIDS-associated cryptococcal meningitis. These methods have been adopted as part of the CLSI Reference Methods for Antifungal Susceptibility Testing.

Strong support for these research efforts are drawn from different sources including the established faculty of the Department of Dermatology, associated researchers, and newly appointed faculty of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University. Existing faculty provide a wealth of expertise in clinical studies, pharmacology, immunology and molecular biology of the skin and skin diseases, and medical mycology. The presence of faculty with a wide array of multi-disciplinary expertise allows for addressing research issues from different angles.