The Extramural Mycology Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has organized and implemented a five workshop series in medical mycology during a critical period in the evolution of contemporary medical mycology (1992 to 2000; http://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/dmid.htm). The goals of the workshop series were to: initiate interactions; build collaborations; identify research needs; turn needs into opportunities; stimulate molecular research in medical mycology; and summarize recommendations emerging from the workshop proceedings. A recurring recommendation in the series was to foster communications within and beyond the field of medical mycology. US-Japan interactions were noted as one specific example of potential information exchange for mutual benefit. The first formal action directed at this recommendation was the workshop “Emergence and Recognition of Fungal Diseases” convened under the auspices of the US-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program (USJCMSP; http://www.niaid.nih.gov/dmid/us%5Fjapan/default.htm) in Bethesda, Maryland USA on 30 June 1999 (D. M. Dixon & T. Matsumoto, co-chairs). A major goal of the workshop was to present contemporary medical mycology to the Joint Committee of the USJCMSP through representative research presentations in order to make the Committee aware of current status in the field, and the potential for scientific interactions. The second formal action is the workshop, under the auspices of the Japanese Society for Medical Mycology “Medical Perspectives of Fungal Genome Studies” scheduled for 28 November 2000 in Tokyo, Japan (T. Matsumoto & D. M. Dixon, co-chairs). The NIAID Mycology Workshop series recommended interactions between the following groups: academic and pharmaceutical; medical and molecular (model systems); medical and plant pathogens; basic and clinical; mycologists and immunologists. The first two US-Japan workshops can be viewed as consistent with these recommendations, and serve as a Western/Eastern gateway for exchange. The focus of the second US-Japan workshop on genome projects for the medically important fungi provides an excellent model for international communications. Given the tsunami of information that is flowing from genomics and bioinformatics, it is clear that global interactions will be essential in managing and interpreting the data.
The Japanese Society for Medical Mycology