Richard Summerbell

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Richard Summerbell
Richard Summerbell.jpg
Summerbell in 2005
Born (1956-06-29) 29 June 1956 (age 63)
ResidenceToronto, Ontario
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia, University of Toronto
Scientific career

Richard C. Summerbell (born 29 June 1956) is a Canadian mycologist, author and award-winning songwriter. He was editor in chief of an international scientific journal in mycology from 2000 to 2004. In the 1970s and 80s, he was a gay activist and an early commentator on (then) controversial topics such as AIDS and promiscuity and attitudes to homosexuality in organized religion.

Born in Brooks, Alberta, Summerbell trained as a botanist, receiving his master's degree from the University of British Columbia and his doctorate degree from the University of Toronto. He has lived with his partner, Ross Fraser, since 1978 and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Research in Mycology

Summerbell has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers[1] in mycology, botany and bacteriology, including research papers in Nature[2] and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.[3] Much of the research explores opportunistic fungal pathogens—those that grow on (and at the expense of) humans and animals—and the unique ways in which these organisms exploit their environments. These environments are diverse. They include biofilms in hospital plumbing that harbour fungal pathogens which attack patients hospitalized for leukemia or major organ transplants.[4][5][6] They also include waterfront vacation properties on streams, lakes or rivers that infect otherwise healthy visitors with the often deadly disease blastomycosis.[7] His most cited works are on the fungi that cause human skin diseases (dermatophytes) and nail infections (onychomycosis).[8] As of July 9, 2010, his 1989 paper on onychomycosis[8] is the most-cited original research paper published in the over 50-year history of the journal Mycoses.[9]

Summerbell spent a decade as the Chief of Medical Mycology at the Ontario Ministry of Health Public Health Lab in Toronto, followed by 6 years as senior scientist at the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures, a mycological institute and branch of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Utrecht.[10] He was editor-in-chief of the international scientific journal Medical Mycology from 2000 to 2004.[11] Since 2008, he has been a faculty member of the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health[12] and research director of Sporometrics, a Toronto-based microbiological testing company.[10]

Summerbell has co-authored two textbooks in medical mycology, Identifying Filamentous Fungi[13] (simultaneously published in French as Champignons Filamenteux D'Intérêt Medical[14]) and Laboratory Handbook of Dermatophytes.[15]

Species (co-)described include:

  • Arachnomyces kanei (asexual state Onychocola kanei), an invader of human nails[16]
  • Phaeoacremonium krajdenii, a cause of subcutaneous infection of humans[17]
  • Phaeoacremonium alvesii, a cause of subcutaneous infection of humans [17]
  • Phaeoacremonium amstelodamense, a cause of human joint infection[17]
  • Phaeoacremonium australiense, an endophyte of grapevines [17]
  • Phaeoacremonium griseorubrum, a cause of human fungemia (blood infection)[17]
  • Phaeoacremonium scolyti, an endophyte of grapevine, also isolated from bark beetle larvae[17]
  • Phaeoacremonium subulatum, an endophyte of grapevine[17]
  • Phaeoacremonium tardicrescens, from unspecified human medical source[17]
  • Phaeoacremonium venezuelense, from eumycetoma of the human foot[17]
  • Phaeoacremonium sphinctrophorum, from fungal cyst of the human foot[18]
  • Phaeoacremonium theobromatis, from stem of wild mountain cocoa (Theobroma gileri) in Ecuador[18]
  • Neocudoniella radicella, ectomycorrhizal with black spruce (Picea mariana)[19]
  • Teberdinia hygrophila a northern and alpine soil fungus[20]
  • Acremonium fuci, an endophyte of brown marine algae in the genus Fucus[21]
  • Acremonium exuviarum, from shed skin of lizard[22]
  • Fusarium delphinoides, from diseased succulent plant Hoodia gordonii and from human eye infection[23]
  • Fusarium biseptatum, from South African soil[23]
  • Fusarium penzigii, from decayed wood and human eye infection[23]
  • Phialosimplex caninus, cause of fatal infections in dogs[24]
  • Phaeomoniella pinifoliorum, a surface colonizer of pine needles[25]
  • Phaeomoniella zymoides, also from pine needles[25]

The species Sarocladium summerbellii has been named in Summerbell's honour.[26]

Gay activism

Summerbell began working as a gay activist in 1979 when he became president of the gay and lesbian student association at the University of British Columbia.[28] He was co-host of Coming Out, Canada's first gay and lesbian radio programme[29] on CFRO-FM in Vancouver from 1978 to 1980. He was also an editor of the gay liberation magazine The Body Politic from 1982 to 1986[30][31][32][33] and a contributor to other early Canadian gay publications such as Q Magazine.[34] As a gay activist, he was an early commentator on (then) controversial topics such as AIDS and promiscuity,[35] and attitudes to homosexuality in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.[36]

In 1985, he published a humorous look at gay life and culture entitled Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary that satirizes stereotypical views of gays and lesbians.[37]

Summerbell also authored an early safe sex campaign series called "Is There a Condom in Your Life?" in Toronto gay newspaper Xtra!, beginning in 1987.[38]


As a songwriter and musician, Summerbell released an independent CD, Light Carries On, in 2004. One song from the CD, Thank you for being My Dog, won the 7th Annual Great American Song Contest in the Special Music category and won Summerbell a place in the Great American Song Hall of Fame.[39] Songs by Summerbell have been included in several popular compilations of music by gay musicians.[40] He has also written contemporary lyrics for the Huron Carol.[41]


  • Identifying Filamentous Fungi, G. St. Germain & R. C. Summerbell, Star Publishing, Belmont CA, 1995, ISBN 978-0-89863-177-7
  • Champignons Filamenteux D'Interêt Medical, G. St. Germain & R.C. Summerbell, Star Publishing, Belmont CA, 1995, ISBN 978-0-89863-179-1
  • Laboratory Handbook of Dermatophytes, J. Kane, R. C. Summerbell, et al., Star Publishing, Belmont CA, 1996, ISBN 978-0-89863-157-9
  • Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary, Richard Summerbell, New Star Books, Vancouver BC, 1985, ISBN 978-0-919573-41-3


  1. ^ Richard Summerbell on Google Scholar Retrieved 2010-06-29. Google Scholar lists 154 results.
  2. ^ Currie, Cameron R.; Scott, James A.; Summerbell, Richard C.; Malloch, David (1999). "Fungus-growing ants use antibiotic-producing bacteria to control garden parasites". Nature. 398 (6729): 701–704. doi:10.1038/19519.
  3. ^ Summerbell, R.C.; Lévesque, C.A.; Seifert, K.A.; Bovers, M.; Fell, J.W.; Diaz, M.R.; Boekhout, T.; De Hoog, G.S.; et al. (2005). "Microcoding: the second step in DNA barcoding". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 360 (1462): 1897–903. doi:10.1098/rstb.2005.1721. PMC 1609221. PMID 16214747.
  4. ^ Anaissie EJ, Kuchar RT, Rex JH, et al. (December 2001). "Fusariosis associated with pathogenic fusarium species colonization of a hospital water system: a new paradigm for the epidemiology of opportunistic mold infections". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 33 (11): 1871–8. doi:10.1086/324501. PMID 11692299.
  5. ^ Anaissie EJ, Stratton SL, Dignani MC, et al. (April 2003). "Pathogenic molds (including Aspergillus species) in hospital water distribution systems: a 3-year prospective study and clinical implications for patients with hematologic malignancies". Blood. 101 (7): 2542–6. doi:10.1182/blood-2002-02-0530. PMID 12468437.
  6. ^ Anaissie EJ, Stratton SL, Dignani MC, et al. (October 2002). "Cleaning patient shower facilities: a novel approach to reducing patient exposure to aerosolized Aspergillus species and other opportunistic molds". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 35 (8): E86–8. doi:10.1086/342305. PMID 12355397.
  7. ^ Morris SK, Brophy J, Richardson SE, et al. (February 2006). "Blastomycosis in Ontario, 1994-2003". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 12 (2): 274–9. doi:10.3201/eid1202.050849. PMC 3373107. PMID 16494754.
  8. ^ a b Summerbell RC, Kane J, Krajden S (December 1989). "Onychomycosis, tinea pedis and tinea manuum caused by non-dermatophytic filamentous fungi". Mycoses. 32 (12): 609–19. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0507.1989.tb02192.x. PMID 2533665.
  9. ^ "Google Scholar search of papers in Mycoses ranked by number of times cited". Retrieved 9 July 2010. As of July 9, 2010, Google Scholar counted 195 papers that cited Summerbell's paper and 207 papers that cited review paper Heykants J, Van Peer A, Van de Velde V, et al. (1989). "The clinical pharmacokinetics of itraconazole: an overview". Mycoses. 32 (Suppl 1): 67–87. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0507.1989.tb02296.x. PMID 2561187.
  10. ^ a b News article from The National Post, 20 May 2009 Retrieved 2010-07-00.
  11. ^ Medical Mycology, Volume 42, Issue 1 2004, page i.
  12. ^ Faculty of the University of Toronto School of Public Health [1] Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  13. ^ St Germain, Guy; Summerbell, Richard (1995). Identifying Filamentous Fungi: A Clinical Laboratory Handbook. Star Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-89863-177-7.
  14. ^ St Germain, Guy; Summerbell, Richard (1995). Champignons Filamenteux D'Intérêt Medical. Star Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-89863-179-1.
  15. ^ Kane, Julius; Summerbell, Richard; Sigler; Krajden; Land (1997). Laboratory Handbook of Dermatophytes: A Clinical Guide and Laboratory Handbook of Dermatophytes and Other Filamentous Fungi from Skin, Hair, and Nails. Star Pub Co. ISBN 978-0-89863-157-9.
  16. ^ Gibas CF, Sigler L, Summerbell RC, Hofstader SL, Gupta AK (December 2002). "Arachnomyces kanei (anamorph Onychocola kanei) sp. nov., from human nails" (PDF). Medical Mycology. 40 (6): 573–80. doi:10.1080/714031153. PMID 12521121. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mostert L, Groenewald JZ, Summerbell RC, et al. (April 2005). "Species of Phaeoacremonium Associated with Infections in Humans and Environmental Reservoirs in Infected Woody Plants". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 43 (4): 1752–67. doi:10.1128/JCM.43.4.1752-1767.2005. PMC 1081309. PMID 15814996.
  18. ^ a b Mostert, L.; Groenewald, J. Z.; Summerbell, R. C.; Gams, W.; Crous, P. W. (2006). "Taxonomy and Pathology of Togninia (Diaporthales) and its Phaeoacremonium Anamorphs". Studies in Mycology. 54: 1–113. doi:10.3114/sim.54.1.1.
  19. ^ Kohn, Linda M.; Summerbell, Richard; Malloch, David W. (1986). "A New Inoperculate Discomycete Associated with Roots of Picea". Mycologia. 78 (6): 934–40. doi:10.2307/3807434. JSTOR 3807434.
  20. ^ Sogonov MV, Schroers HJ, Gams W, Dijksterhuis J, Summerbell RC (2005). "The hyphomycete Teberdinia hygrophila gen. nov., sp. nov. and related anamorphs of Pseudeurotium species". Mycologia. 97 (3): 695–709. doi:10.3852/mycologia.97.3.695. PMID 16392257.
  21. ^ Zuccaro, Alga; Summerbell, Richard C.; Gams, Walter; Schroers, Hans-Josef; Mitchell, Julian I. (2004). "A new Acremonium species associated with Fucus spp., and its affinity with a phylogenetically distinct marine Emericellopsis clade" (PDF). Studies in Mycology. 50: 283–97.
  22. ^ Sigler, Lynne; Zuccaro, Alga; Summerbell, Richard C.; Mitchell, Julian; Paré, Jean A. (2004). "Acremonium exuviarum sp. nov., a lizard-associated fungus with affinity to Emericellopsis" (PDF). Studies in Mycology. 50: 409–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2011.
  23. ^ a b c Schroers HJ, O'Donnell K, Lamprecht SC, et al. (2009). "Taxonomy and phylogeny of the Fusarium dimerum species group". Mycologia. 101 (1): 44–70. doi:10.3852/08-002. PMID 19271670.
  24. ^ Sigler L, Sutton DA, Gibas CF, Summerbell RC, Noel RK, Iwen PC (March 2010). "Phialosimplex, a new anamorphic genus associated with infections in dogs and having phylogenetic affinity to the Trichocomaceae". Medical Mycology. 48 (2): 335–45. doi:10.3109/13693780903225805. PMID 20141373.
  25. ^ a b Lee HB, Park JY, Jung HS, Summerbell RC (2006). "Phaeomoniella zymoides and Phaeomoniella pinifoliorum spp. nov., new acid-tolerant epiphytic fungi isolated from pine needles in Korea". Mycologia. 98 (4): 598–611. doi:10.3852/mycologia.98.4.598. PMID 17139853.
  26. ^ Giraldo, A; Gené, J; Sutton, D.A.; Madrid, H; de Hoog G.S.; Cano, J; Decock, C; Crous, P.W.; Guarro J. (2015). "Phylogeny of Sarocladium (Hypocreales)". Persoonia. 34: 10–34. doi:10.3767/003158515x685364. PMC 4510268. PMID 26240442.
  27. ^ IPNI.  Summerb.
  28. ^ "1979 article on homosexuality in the student newspaper of University of BC (The Ubyssey)" (PDF). Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  29. ^ Savage, Phillip. Doing Community Radio: The Practices of Information Programming at a Community Radio Station, 1985 Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  30. ^ The Body Politic, index of issues 1983 Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  31. ^ The Body Politic, index of issues 1984 Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  32. ^ The Body Politic, index of issues 1985 Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  33. ^ The Body Politic, index of issues 1986 Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  34. ^ Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Inventory of the Records of The Body Politic & Pink Triangle Press Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  35. ^ Silversides, Ann (2003). AIDS Activist: Michael Lynch and the Politics of Community. Between the Lines. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-896357-73-7.
  36. ^ Robinson, B. A. (13 August 2007). "Islam and homosexuality: Positive and supportive comments by Muslim and human rights groups". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
  37. ^ Summerbell, Richard. Abnormally Happy: A Gay Dictionary. New Star Books. 1985: back cover. ISBN 978-0-919573-41-3
  38. ^ Summerbell, Richard (18 May 1987). "Is There a Condom in Your Life". Xtra (76). Toronto: Pink Triange Press. pp. 1, 3. ISSN 0829-3384.
  39. ^ Great American Songwriting Hall of Fame Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  40. ^ "Richard Summerbell's music on CBC Radio 3". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  41. ^ "Richard Summerbell | CD single "star date 25.12: nativities." The Lake Huron Carol b/w You Came a Star from Heaven (Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle) | CD Baby Music Store". Retrieved 2 November 2013.

External links