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Mushroom on headCornell is one of the few places in North America where students can receive in-depth training in the biology of fungi and oomycetes. Fungi and oomycetes are important. Some cause devastating plant diseases; some live with plants as symbionts. Some have been model organisms in studies of genetics and mating systems; some are used to produce foods; some are important in food spoilage. They play key roles in earth’s ecosystems, and have important impacts on human health. Fungi are exciting, in that so much about them is yet to be discovered.

Cornell has no undergraduate major focused exclusively on fungi, but we do offer a Minor in Fungal Biology, based on our long and distinguished history and strong array of courses. Adding a focus on fungi (mycology) can complement many different majors, including those relevant to future medical professionals.

For undergraduates with broad interests in fungi

(majors such as Biological Sciences, Plant Science, Food Science, Animal Science, Biological Engineering, Science of Natural and Environmental Systems, Agricultural Sciences, Natural Resources, Entomology, and others.)

  • fungus culturePLPPM 2010 - Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds
  • PLPPM 2013 - Mushrooms, Molds & More
  • PLPPM 2015 - Mushrooms, Molds & Molecules
  • PLPPM 3190 - Mushrooms of Field & Forest
  • PLPPM 4480 - Symbioses: Evolution & Ecology
  • PLPPM 4490 - Advanced Mycology
  • PLPPM 6490 - Fungal Biology

For future medical professionals

  • PLPPM 3290/VETMI 3290 - Medical & Veterinary Mycology
  • PLPPM 4490 - Advanced Mycology
  • PLPPM 4380 - Filamentous Fungal Genomics & Development

For graduate students with interests in fungal biology

  • PLPPM 4490 - Advanced Mycology
  • PLPPM 4380 - Filamentous Fungal Genomics & Development
  • PLPPM 6490 - Fungal Biology

Graduate students can choose to major or minor in Fungal and Oomycete Biology.

Our courses

Complete course information is available on the Courses of Study listing

PLPPMbotrytis on clemantine 2010 – Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds. Spring, 2cr. K.T. Hodge. An exciting introduction to the world of fungi aimed at students who are not majoring in science.

PLPPM 2013 – Mushrooms, Molds & More. Spring, 3cr. K.T. Hodge. An exciting intro via PLPA 2010, plus a hands-on lab on the diversity and talents of fungi.

PLPPM 2015 – Mushrooms, Molds & Molecules. Spring, 3cr. B.G. Turgeon, T.E. Pawlowska. An exciting intro via PLPA 2010, plus discussion of the molecular superpowers of fungi.

PLPPM 2950 – Biology of Infectious Disease: From Molecules to Ecosystems. Fall, 3cr. E. B. Nelson, M. G. Milgroom. A cross-disciplinary introduction to disease in humans, plants and animals.

PLPPM 3010 – Biology & Management of Plant Diseases. Fall, 3 cr. W.E. Fry. A comprehensive intro to plant pathology (most plant diseases are caused by fungi and oomycetes).

PLPPM 3190 – Mushrooms of Field & Forest. Fall (8 weeks long), 2 cr. K.T. Hodge. A field class in mushroom identification and diversity.

PLPPM 3290/VETMI 3290 – Medical & Veterinary Mycology. Spring, 2 cr. K.T. Hodge. A comprehensive treatment of the fungal diseases of humans and animals.

PLPPM 4480 – Symbioses: Evolution & Ecology. Spring, 3 cr. T.E. Pawlowska. An exploration of symbiosis, with a focus on interactions of fungi with plants, animals and bacteria.

PLPPM 4490 Advanced Mycology. Fall, 3 cr. T.E. Pawlowska. A deep immersion into the world of fungi.

PLPPM 4990 – Undergraduate Research Experience. Fall or Spring. 3-5 cr. Participate in scientific research on fungi working in a faculty laboratory. Students interested in research should also consider the CALS Research Honor’s Program or the Biology Honors Program.

PLPPM 4380 – Filamentous Fungal Genomics & Development. Spring, 1 cr. B.G. Turgeon. Structure of fungal genomes, manipulation of fungal genes, and consequences for developmental and pathogenic functions.

PLPPM 6490 – Current Topics in Fungal Biology. Spring. 1 cr. K.T. Hodge, B.G. Turgeon. Discussions of cutting edge research articles on fungi. Aimed at graduate students, but accessible for advanced undergraduates with molecular biology background.

For further information

For further information about Fungi at Cornell, please contact us. Many faculty in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology work with fungi. In particular, try: Dr. Teresa Pawlowska, Dr. Gillian Turgeon, or Dr. Kathie Hodge