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Published: 27 October 2015

Conference report: 19th ISHAM Congress, Melbourne

Prof. Wieland Meyer

Chair 19th ISHAM Congress and General Secretary ISHAM

The 19th Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM), in-conjunction with the 2015 Mycology Masterclass, was proudly organised by the Australian New Zealand Mycology Interest Group (ANZMIG), a special interest group of the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases (ASID). It took place from the 4–8 May 2015 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center.

The Congress was organised under the leadership of Prof. Wieland Meyer, who chaired the local organising committee, including Dr Sarah Kidd, A/Prof. Sharon Chen, Prof. Monica Slavin, Sue Coloe, A/Prof. Debbie Marriott, Dr Orla Morrissey, Dr Tom Gottlieb, Prof. Tania Sorrell, A/Prof. Mark Krockenberger, Prof. David Looke and E/Prof. David Ellis. The accompanying Young ISHAM meeting was organised by Dr Michaela Lackner, Cecilia Li, Nenad Macesic. Special thanks go to the staff of The Meeting People our PCO under the leadership of Lesley Woods.

The 19th ISHAM Congress was generously sponsored by Astellas, Merck Sharpe & Dhome, Pfizer, Gilead, Elsevier, Marie Bashir Institute, Oxford University Press, Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau, Majestic Opals, Cape Cod Associates, and Mayne Pharma.

The meeting attracted 667 delegates from 48 countries, with 33.7% coming from Australia and 66.3% from overseas. It was preceded by two days of workshops, on 2–3 May 2015, and followed by a one-day workshop on 9 May 2015, taking place at RMIT and the Alfred Hospital, on topics from MALDI-TOF, Histopathology, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, Antifungal Susceptibility Testing, Infections in the Immunocompromised Host to BioloMICS. The Young ISHAM day on 3 May 2015 featured three educational sessions, covering topics from ‘Where to publish’ and ‘How to review a scientific paper’ to ‘Mycological entrepreneurship’. It also gave 24 young researchers the opportunity to present their scientific findings as short talks and 88 as YISHAM posters.

The formal meeting was opened by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle and the ASID President Prof. Cheryl Jones. The opening plenary given by Professor Sarah Gurr, Chair in Food Security at Exeter University, entitled: ‘Mycopia: Fungal Allies and Adversaries’, seamlessly linked environmental, food safety, agricultural and medical mycology. The eight plenary lectures covered themes reaching from ‘New Insights in Candidaemia’ (Prof. Tania C. Sorrell, AU), ‘Insights in fungal pathogenicity drawn from proteomics studies’ (Prof. Marilene Henning-Vainstein, Brazil), ‘Modelling of human antifungal dosages’ (Prof. William W. Hope, UK), ‘Animal to human transmission new threat of Sporotrichosis’ (Dr Isabella Dib F. Gremião, Brazil), ‘Antifungal resistance – threats, trends and targets’ (Prof. Richard Cannon, New Zealand), ‘How can animal models inform clinical practice?’ (Prof. John Perfect, USA), ‘Advances in Mucormycosis’ (Prof. Olivier Lortholary, France) to ‘Virulence mechanisms shared by fungi that infect humans, animals and plants’ (Prof. Joseph Heitman, USA). The main program had many scientific highlights within the 36 symposia, featuring 323 oral presentations, representing the four themes within the program: clinical, basic science, translational and one health aspects of medical mycology. 488 posters were presented at the Congress, showcasing high quality original research and state of the art reviews. There were three industrial symposia organised by Pfizer, MSD and Astellas. The Congress also featured 18 ISHAM working groups, allowing them to present their activities to the general scientific community.

In conjunction with the 19th ISHAM Congress a special issue of Microbiology Australia on Medical and Veterinary Mycology was published in May 2015 by the Mycology Interest Group of ASM, under the guest editor ship of Prof. Wieland Meyer featuring one editorial, three In Focus and 13 Under The Microscope articles, highlighting to the global scientific community the broad range of Medical Mycology activities in Australia.

The Congress offered plenty of opportunities to network either during the numerous poster sessions or the YISHAM party at Gasolina, the welcome reception, which took place at the Melbourne Convention Center and the Congress dinner at the amazing Myer Mural Hall.

The 19th ISHAM Congress was also the official meeting place of the members of ISHAM, which held its general assembly on 8 May 2015. During the General assembly the new ISHAM council was elected: Prof. Malcolm Richards (UK) – President, Prof. Wieland Meyer (AU) - General Secretary, Dr Donna MacCallum (UK) – Treasurer, Prof. Arunaloke Chakrabarti (India) - President Elect, Dr Ruth Ashbee (UK), Prof. Yee Chun Chen (Taiwan), Prof. Jacques Meis (The Netherlands) and Prof. Ryoji Tsuboi (Japan) – Vice Presidents, Dr Marcus Teixeira, Brazil/USA – Vice President YISHAM and ex officio Dr Oliver Kurzai (Germany) – Chief Editor Medical Mycology Case Reports, Dr Karl Clemens (USA) – Chief Editor Medical Mycology and Prof. Neil Gow (UK) – Past president.

The society awarded its highest award, the Lucile George Medal to Prof. John Perfect (USA) for his outstanding contribution to clinical mycology and Prof. Luigina Romani (Italy) for her outstanding contribution to basic mycological science. Honorary ISHAM membership was awarded to Prof. Bodo Wanke (Brazil) for his outstanding contribution to human and animal mycology, and the distinguished service awards were awarded to Prof. Ira Salkin (USA), Chief Editor of the society journal Medical Mycology, Prof. Aristea Velegraki (Greece) and Prof. Sybren de Hoog (The Netherlands) for their outstanding contribution to the Society.

It also elected the next host country of the 20th ISHAM Congress, which will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in 2018.

Overall the 19th ISHAM congress was a great success featuring all aspects of human and veterinary mycology.

Some members of the organising committee: Cecilia Li, Sarah Kidd, Orla Morrissey, Debbie Marriott, Wieland Meyer and Sue Coloe.
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