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Background
San Antonio and UTHSCSA are internationally recognized as a center of excellence in Medical Mycology. Faculty interest and expertise in Medical Mycology date to the early years of the UTHSCSA. The strength of this area became especially cemented and prominent during the tenure of David Drutz, M.D., Chief of Infectious Diseases, during the decades of the 1970’s and 80’s. Dr. Drutz was an internationally known scientist/clinician who had primary interest in the diagnosis, therapy, and biology of fungi pathogenic for humans. Professor Drutz garnered substantial peer-reviewed and pharmaceutical company funding and his mycological program and activities were well recognized throughout his tenure at UTHSCSA.


Part of Dr. Drutz’s plan for mycological activity at the institution was the recruitment and hire of faculty who would share his interest in matters mycological. As a result, several faculty were recruited, some of whom are still active and remain at this campus, including Drs. John Graybill and Michael Rinaldi. During this time, the Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital was established as a VA Center of Excellence in Coccidioidomycosis and later the VA Hospital became a national VA reference laboratory for susceptibility testing and fungal identification—a role which continues to the present under the direction of Dr. Michael Rinaldi. In addition, the Fungus Testing Laboratory, an internationally acclaimed reference laboratory, was established at the UTHSCSA under the direction of Dr. Rinaldi. With the assistance of Dr. Sutton and Ms Fothergill, this laboratory has become one of the most prominent fungal reference laboratories in the world, and has been a key resource for international studies and training.

These early efforts have led to the recruitment of additional faculty to the UTHSCSA with an interest in Medical Mycology, which has resulted in a highly interactive and collaborative group of mycology investigators from multiple departments and schools (Graduate, Dental, and Medical). Long-term collaborative research in oral Candida infection has involved SACMM faculty from diverse disciplines (Patterson, Wickes, Lopez-Ribot, Redding, Yeh, Rinaldi and Graybill) which has resulted in multiple successful NIH applications as well as extensive pharmaceutical support. Programs in coccidioidomycosis (Cox, Quitugua and Graybill) and in cryptococcosis (Wickes, Graybill, and Patterson) have also received substantial on-going peer-reviewed support. The UTHSCSA (Graybill and Patterson) has been a leading institution in the NIH-sponsored Bacterial and Mycology Study Group, which conducts clinical studies in invasive mycoses Recently, a collaborative effort by proposed SACMM faculty (Patterson, Graybill, Wickes, Lopez-Ribot, Cox, Quitugua) has led to an attractive contract from the NIH to establish new animal models in invasive aspergillosis. Publication productivity has also been substantial: The Medline listing for this group is over 700 publications with extensive collaboration documented by this record. Additional recruitment to the mycology community at UTHSCSA and at UTSA promise to further strengthen these efforts. These immensely productive collaborative interactions have provided substantial research funding and significant advances in the field of Medical Mycology and have resulted in an internationally recognized mycology group at the Health Science Center. The aim of SACMM is to provide the framework for even greater collaboration as leaders in this field.

 
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