Scientific Themes

Scientific Themes

General Chair of IMC12

Pedro Crous (The Netherlands)

Pedro is professor in evolutionary phytopathology at the University of Wageningen, and fungal biodiversity at the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands, where he is presently the Director of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute. His main research interests are fungal systematics (Dothideomycetes and Nectriaceae), the characterisation of fungal plant pathogens, and the evolution of host specificity. He is an editor or board member for numerous journals and has authored or edited several textbooks. He has received many awards including the President’s award from the SA Foundation of Research Development, Alexopolous Award from the Mycological Society of America, Havenga Award for Biological Sciences from the SA Academy for Arts and Science, Christiaan Hendrik Persoon Gold Medal from the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology, and the Founders’ Award from the European Mycological Association.  He is Corresponding Member of the Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences (Belgium), Member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology, American Academy of Microbiology and Honorary Member of the Mycological Society of America, Mycological Society of India and vice-president of the International Mycological Association.

Scientific Chair of IMC12

Teun Boekhout (The Netherlands)

Teun works as a principal investigator at Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (formerly CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre), Utrecht, and the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, at the University of Amsterdam. His main research interest relates to yeast diversity, and includes aspects such as the evolution of opportunism/pathogenicity, role of yeasts in the mycobiome, but also in fermentations. He is the present editor in chief of, an open access platform on yeast diversity. He has been involved as editor in several mycological journals. He is a commissioner of the International Commission of Yeasts of IUMS and in 2018, he was elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He has also acted as vice-chair and chair of the Division Mycology and other Eukaryotic Microbes (MEM) of IUMS.

Theme1: Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Physiology

Chair 1, Ida van der Klei (The Netherlands)

Ida studied biology at the University of Groningen (1980–1986), the Netherlands, where she also obtained her PhD (1991). Her PhD research focused on the sorting and assembly of the peroxisomal enzyme alcohol oxidase in the methylotrophic yeast Hansenula polym

orpha. She obtained post-doctoral training at the Institut für Physiologische Chemie (Munich, Germany) in the laboratory of Prof. dr. W. Neupert, where she studied mitochondrial protein translocation using Neurospora crassa and Saccharomyces cerevisiae as model organisms. In 2000, she was appointed as assistant professor at the University of Groningen and received a PIONIER grant from theNetherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2005, she became chair of the research group Molecular Cell Biology. In 2007 she was appointed as full professor at the University of Groningen. Currently she coordinates a Marie Curie Initial Training Network (Peroxisome Interaction and Communication), executive editor of Biochimica et Biophysica Acta Molecular Cell Research and member of the board of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute. Her main current interest is the function, biogenesis and dynamics of peroxisomes in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Hansenula polymorpha). Her research focusses on the function and composition of contact sites between peroxisomes and other cell organelles.

Chair 2, Gregory Jedd (Singapore)

Gregory earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University and his PhD from the University of Chicago. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University, before moving to Singapore where he joined the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory as a principal investigator in 2004. He is currently a senior principal investigator. His group investigates fundamental aspects of cellular organization and evolution using an interdisciplinary approach, and a variety of model organisms. These include the genetically amenable multicellular fungus Neurospora crassa, and the early-diverging Phycomyces blakesleeanus.

Chair 3, Marcio Rodriques (Brazil)

Marcio is a senior investigator in the Carlos Chagas Institute (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Fiocruz; Brazil). The Rodrigues laboratory is mainly interested in the mechanisms by which fungal cells export biologically active molecules to the extracellular space. In this context, the laboratory has been investigating the role of extracellular vesicles in fungal physiology and pathogenesis for the last decade, mainly using the Cryptococcus model of secretion. The group is especially interested in how lipids and glycans participate in secretory processes that are essential for fungi, aiming to connect basic cell biology mechanisms with the identification of cellular pathways that could be targeted by novel antifungal agents.


Kaustuv Sanyal, India

Kaustuv is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (ASM, USA), JC Bose National Fellow and Professor of Molecular Mycology at the JN Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore.  The major focus of his research is to understand the mechanism of chromosome segregation using various fungi, both pathogenic and non-pathogenic, as model systems.  He is also interested in the mechanism of genome indexing in unicellular organisms by histone variants. He has been awarded the prestigious Tata Innovation Fellowship and National Bioscience Award by the Department of Biotechnology (India), is an elected fellow the Indian National Science Academy (New Delhi), Indian Academy of Sciences (Bangalore, India), the National Academy of Sciences (Allahabad, India) and a nominated member of the Faculty of 1000 (F1000Prime), UK. He is a visiting professor at the Osaka University, Japan. Currently, he leads a vibrant group of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, and actively collaborates with many research groups across the world.

Meritxell Riquelme, Mexico

Meritxell is a Research Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (CICESE), Baja California, Mexico, where she has been on the faculty since 2004. She obtained a BA degree in Biology at the University of Barcelona, Spain. She received a MSc degree in Plant Pathology and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of California, Riverside. During her PhD thesis in S. Bartnicki-Garcia’s lab, she investigated the role of the Spitzenkörper in hyphal morphology and growth. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, in the lab of L. Casselton, where she worked on the receptor and pheromone mating type genes of Coprinopsis cinerea. Her current research focuses on understanding basic aspects of hyphal morphogenesis in fungi.  By combining advanced microscopy and molecular biology she investigates the biochemical role and secretory routes of vesicles involved in the polar apical growth of hyphae of Neurospora crassa. Additional research interests have led her to study the ecological distribution of the human pathogen Coccidioides spp., a fungus that causes Coccidiodomycosis or Valley Fever in the semi-arid regions of Baja California. More recently she has studied the fungal diversity of deep-sea sediments of the Gulf of Mexico.

She is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. In 2018 she received the B. O. Dodge award for her contributions to the Neurospora research community and in 2019 she was elected Fellow of the Mycological Society of America. She is editor of the journals Fungal Genetics and Biology, The Cell Surface, Communications Biology, and Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. Previously she was editor of Fungal Biology. She has served in the Mycological Society of America (MSA) as member of the Karling Lecture Committee (2005-2008, chair 2007-2008), of the Genetics and Cell Biology Committee (2008-2010, chair 2009-2010), and as councilor for Cell Biology/Physiology (2014-2016). She served as member of the Neurospora Policy Committee (2008-2012), the Fungal Genetics Policy Committee (2013-2019), the International Fungal Biology Conference Steering Committee (since 2014), and the Executive Committee of the International Mycological Association (since 2014).

Theme 2: Environment, Ecology and Interactions

Chair 1, Lynne Body (United Kingdom)

Lynne is a fungal ecologist, who has investigated the ecology of wood decomposition, and wood decay fungi, for over 40 years. Her main areas of research centers around the ecology of wood decomposition and wood decay fungi, including to the ways in which fungi fight each other, interact with bacteria and invertebrates, form communities in decaying wood, search the forest floor for food resources and respond to their finds, and how global change is affecting fungi. Lynne is Professor of Mycology, and teaches and researches into fungal ecology at Cardiff University UK. She is a prolific author having co-authored or edited seven books and numerous papers, and serves on the editorial board of several mycological journals. She is also an ardent communicator of the mysteries and importance of the amazing hidden Kingdom of Fungi to the general public on TV, radio, popular talks, articles and exhibitions. Lynne was president of the British Mycological Society (2009–2010). She has received many awards including the Berkeley Award (1989), the Fleming Award (1991), European Mycological Association outstanding achievement award (2015), the Marsh Award (2016) and the Frances Hoggan Medal (2018). She is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and of the Royal Society of Biology.

Chair 2, Duur Aanen (The Netherlands)

Duur is a professor in Evolutionary Genetics at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. After finishing his PhD on speciation of fungi at Wageningen University in 1999, he became a postdoc and later assistant professor at the University of Copenhagen and returned to Wageningen in 2006. Duur Aanen specializes on the origin and evolution of cooperation and uses fungi and the symbiosis between termites and Termitomyces fungi as his main model systems.

Chair 3, Yu Fukasawa (Japan)

Yu is working on the ecology of wood decay fungi, with a broad interest on their diversity, behaviour, and ecological functions, associated with environmental factors and interactions with other organisms on deadwood. He has worked on these topics for deadwood of beech, oak, pine and spruce in Japan as well as in European countries by field works, laboratory incubation and molecular experiments, including variety of organisms such as tree seedlings, bryophytes, myxomycetes and invertebrates interacting with wood decay fungi. One of his current projects aims to find mechanisms of fungal community development in deadwood particularly focusing on the factors that determine the relative dominance of white-rot fungi and brown-rot fungi. Since the difference of these decay types strongly affects physicochemical properties of decayed wood, it has very important ecological impacts on biodiversity and decay process of deadwood, and consequently on dynamics of forest ecosystem.


Håvard Kauserud, Norway

Håvard is Professor in Biology at the University of Oslo, and has a broad focus on fungal ecology and biology. One main research avenue has been to assess how fungal communities are affected and structured by environmental variability and change, and how fungal traits influence on community assembly. In most studies, fungal communities have been surveyed by DNA metabarcoding analyses, but he has also used historic sporocarp observations to assess how fungal communities and fungal life-history events changes through time.

Maiko Kagami, Japan

Maiko is a Professor in the Graduate school of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, Kanagawa, Japan, since April 2018. Her research interests lie in the area of aquatic ecology, examining the dynamics and roles of plankton and microbes in biogeochemical cycling.

Maiko completed her Ph.D. at Kyoto University, Japan in 2002. During her Ph.D., she examined plankton dynamics in Lake Biwa, and found the importance of parasitic fungi infecting phytoplankton. From 2002-2006, she worked as a JSPS research fellow (postdoc) in the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Center for Limnology. She discovered the new material flow via parasitic fungi in aquatic food webs, which was named as Mycoloop after Mycology and her name (Maiko). From 2006 September, she became a faculty member, a lecturer (2006-2012) and associate professor (2012-2018) in Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Toho University, Chiba, Japan. She continued her research line of aquatic ecology. Maiko has actively collaborated with oversea researchers, particularly Germany and Netherlands. She has been PIs of several Grants-in-Aid (KAKENHI), including those promoting international collaborations. From 2016-2018, she has been a PI of the Fund for the Promotion of Joint International Research (Fostering Joint International Research) and stayed for 1.5 year as a guest researcher at Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB-Berlin) in Germany and at Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in the Netherlands.

Theme 3: Evolution, Biodiversity and Systematics

Chair 1, Jos Houbraken (The Netherlands)

Jos is group leader of the department Applied and Industrial Mycology at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute in the Netherlands. The mission of his group is to generate and apply knowledge of fungi in relation to food, indoor environment and industry. His main interest is studying the biodiversity and taxonomy of the species and genera occurring in food & feed (incl. mycotoxigenic fungi) and the built environment, with a focus on Penicillium, Aspergillus and related genera. His research group also studies the effect of various stresses (e.g. temperature, water activity, preservatives) on food- and indoor fungi at a fundamental and applied level, with the aim to find novel solutions for prevention of food spoilage and fungal growth in the harsh indoor environment.

Chair 2, Ester Gaya (United Kingdom)

Ester is senior research leader, comparative fungal biology at Kew Botanical Gardens, UK. She obtained her PhD degree at the University of Barcelona (Spain) and after a 5-year postdoctoral experience at Duke University (USA) relocated to Royal Botanic Gardens in 2013 where she conducts research on the diversity and evolution of fungi. She focusses on processes of speciation and phenotypic evolution using lichenised fungi as a case study. Her main scientific interests include methods testing using an empirical approach: phylogenetics, phylogenomics, dating events, ancestral character state reconstructions. Her specialties include taxonomy and systematics of Teloschistales (Ascomycota).

Chair 3, Lei Cai (China)

Lei is a full professor at the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, in Beijing, China. His research interests focus on the biodiversity, systematics and evolution of microfungi. He was awarded the Keisuke Tubaki Medal of Young Mycologist Award (2010) by International Mycology Association. Lei has published one monograph, five book chapters, and numerous articles in international journals. He serves as the deputy secretary general of the Mycological Society of China, secretary general of the Asian Mycological Association, and is a member of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Fungi. He also serves as associate editor of several international journals.


Jolanta Maria Miadlikowska, USA

Jolanta a Senior Researcher at Duke University, Department of Biology. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Gdansk in Poland in 1999 and completed five years of postdoctoral research at Duke University. She is a systematist interested in biodiversity, taxonomy, phylogenetics and evolution of lichenized Ascomycota, with a special emphasis on cyanolichens from the genus Peltigera and their cyanobacterial photobiont Nostoc. She also studies the eco-evolutionary mechanisms and factors shaping interactions among lichen symbionts using peltigerous lichens as a model system. Her research integrates traditional specimen-based revisionary methods (morphology-, anatomy-, and chemistry-based approaches) and molecular phylogenetic tools, including genomic data, focusing on both the fungal and Nostoc partners. Jolanta is also part of the NSF-funded GoLife project exploring biodiversity, ecological factors and biogeographical patterns in endolichenic and endophytic communities associated with lichens and plants.

Toni Gabaldón, Spain

Toni is a ICREA Research professor, and group leader at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), and the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC), and associate professor at the UPF. He leads the comparative genomics groups. His main research interests are in the fields of genomics and evolution with significant contributions to the understanding of how genes, pathways, organisms and communities evolve and function.

Theme 4: Fungal Pathogenesis and Disease Control

Chair 1, Dee Carter (Australia)

Dee is a professor of microbiology and chair of the Microbiology Cluster at the University of Sydney.  She has spent her research career investigating fungal pathogens, starting with a PhD on mapping Phytophthora infestans (potato blight) virulence genes at Imperial College, London, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Roche Molecular Systems and UC Berkeley looking at the population genetics of Histoplasma and Coccidioides, and now with her own lab at Sydney University. The emphasis of Dee’s current work is on pathogenic yeast species, in particular Cryptococcus and Candida, and she is also involved in projects on dermatophytes and food spoilage fungi.  Dee’s research interests span fungal ecology, population biology, transcriptomics, proteomics, antifungal development, fungal stress responses and host-pathogen biology, and she collaborates with clinical mycologists, pharmacists, chemists, engineers, bioinformaticians and systems biologists to enable a broad and interdisciplinary approach to understanding fungal pathogens.  In addition to research, Dee teaches microbiology and has a particular interest in bringing creative communication into the microbiology curriculum.

Chair 2, Martijn Rep (The Netherlands)

After graduating in molecular biology at the University of Amsterdam in 1991, Martijn worked on mitochondrial biogenesis in yeast in the lab of Molecular Biology headed by Prof. Leslie Grivell, defending his thesis in 1996. He then worked as a postdoc in the lab of Prof. Johan Thevelein in Leuven, Belgium, on the response of yeast to osmotic stress, and in 1999 came back to Amsterdam for a second postdoc, with Prof. Henk Tabak, setting up microarray technology to study yeast’s transcriptional response to fatty acids. In 2000, he moved to the Molecular Plant Pathology group of Prof. Ben Cornelissen at the University of Amsterdam to start working on the molecular basis of pathogenicity of the plant-pathogenic fungus Fusarium oxysporum. In 2018 he became full professor and chair of that group.

Chair 3, Juan McEwen (Colombia)

Juan received his PhD at the Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel. Since 1991 he is head of the Cellular and Molecular Biology Unit, Corporación para Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB) in Medellín, Colombia, and since 2006 full professor at the School of Medicine, Departments of Physiology and Biochemistry and Microbiology and Parasitology of university of Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia. His main research interest is in medical mycology.


Eva Stukenbrock, Germany

The research of Eva Stukenbrock focuses on the ecological interactions and co-evolution of fungi associated with plants. Since her PhD at the ETH in Zurich, she has used the plant pathogenic fungus Zymoseptoria tritici as a model to study pathogen evolution. During her post doc at Aarhus University, Denmark she worked with Prof. Mikkel Schierup to apply whole genome coalescence analyses to infer the speciation history of Z. tritici and related Zymoseptoria species. In 2010, she was appointed group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany, and since 2014 she is Max Planck Fellow and professor at Kiel University. Her group integrates computational biology with experimental and molecular approaches to study mechanisms of host specialization of plant pathogens.

Judith Berman, Israel

Judith Berman is Professor and Nathan Galston Chair of Antimicrobial Drug Research at Tel Aviv University and Distinguished McKnight University Professor Emerita at the University of Minnesota. Her laboratory group studies basic mechanisms that underlie rapid phenotypic responses to stress, using yeasts, especially Candida albicans and Candida glabrata. Her work is focused on genomic and epigenetic/metabolic responses to antifungal drugs, with a focus on ploidy shifts and antifungal tolerance. Her lab also studies the contributions of chromosome components including centromeres, telomeres, origins of replication and repeated DNA regions to genome stability and stress responsiveness. Berman and colleagues have developed and adapted many widely-used resources for the community of Candida researchers including the use of epitope and fluorescent protein tags and a range of tools for analysis and visualization of the genome structure of individual isolates. Prof. Berman did her Ph.D. in yeast molecular biology with Ada Zamir at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel and as a post-doctoral fellow with Bik-kwoon Tye at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She has been a Professor at Tel Aviv University in Ramat Aviv, Israel since 2012 after 25 years at the University of Minnesota. She is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Theme 5: Genomics, Genetics and Molecular Biology

Chair 1, Miia Mäkelä (Finland)

Miia Mäkelä is a microbiologist and microbial biotechnologist with a main research interest in understanding fungal plant biomass conversion and degradation at the molecular level. Her research has a special emphasis on studies comparing basidiomycete and ascomycete approaches for plant biomass conversion by addressing extracellular enzymes, central carbon metabolism and regulatory systems involved in this process. By applying molecular genetics, functional genomics, and molecular and biochemical characterization of fungal enzymes, her research aims to discover new biotechnologically interesting biocatalysts for conversion and degradation of lignocellulosic biomass, covering both polysaccharides and the aromatic polymer lignin. She is a principal investigator and group leader at the Department of Microbiology of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Adjunct Professor in Microbiology at the University of Helsinki. She has received the prestigious Finnish Academy Research Fellow grant (2017). She is an associate editor for several journals in the fields of microbiology and fungal genetics.

Chair 2, Ronald de Vries (The Netherlands)

Ronald de Vries is a fungal biologist and biotechnologist with a broad interest in the use of natural carbon sources by fungi, addressing in particular the extracellular enzymes that degrade natural polymeric substrates (e.g. plant or algal biomass), the intracellular metabolic pathways that convert the monomeric components released from these polymers and the regulatory systems that control the process. His research has a strong focus on functional genomics studies to dissect the molecular mechanisms involved in biomass conversion, using a small number of (mainly ascomycete) reference species. The results from these studies are used to perform comparative studies across fungal diversity, linking physiological abilities to biotope and lifestyle. Ronald is a group leader (Fungal Physiology) at Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, The Netherlands, as well as Professor in Fungal Molecular Physiology at Utrecht University, The Netherlands and Visiting Professor at the Department of Microbiology of the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has received both the prestigious Dutch VIDI (2005) and VICI (2013) grants and is an honorary member of the Hungarian Microbiological Society. He also serves on the editorial board of several journals in the fields of microbiology and fungal genetics.

Chair 3: Brenda Wingfield (South Africa)

Brenda studies the global movement and evolution of fungal pathogens, particularly those on trees, for more than 30 years.  She was one of the founding members of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), at the University of Pretoria.  Brenda holds the DST-NRF SARChI research chair in Fungal Genomics.  She is vice president of the Academy of Science of South Africa and the Secretary General of the International Society of Plant Pathology. Brenda has been responsible for a number of major advances in fungal taxonomy and phylogeny, not the least of which was the introduction of DNA-based research tools to her field of research in South Africa. This has enabled her research group to identify the biology of a wide variety of tree pathogens and establish itself as one of the foremost in the study of distribution and population dynamics of tree pathogens using DNA markers.  She pioneered fungal genomics at the University of Pretoria where she was responsible for the first fungal genome to be sequenced in Africa. Her success as a researcher is reflected in the internationally recognised work of many of her past PhD students.


Hanna Johannesson, Sweden

Hanna Johannesson is a Professor in Evolutionary Genetics at Uppsala University, Sweden. She established her own independent research group at Uppsala University in 2005, after a PhD at the Swedish Agricultural University and a postdoc at University of California at Berkeley. She achieved an Associate Professorship (docentur) in 2006 and between 2007 and 2013 she held a senior research position (rådsforskartjänst) funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR). Since December 2013 she is a full professor. Hanna’s research interest lies in the interface between mycology and evolutionary biology. Her group uses fungi as models to explore general evolutionary questions such as natural selection operating at multiple levels in the biological hierarchy, the causes and consequences of symbioses and switches in reproductive mode. For most of the work, she is having a Genomics approach. In particular, with funding from VR and the European Research Council (ERC) she was given the opportunity to dive deep into the causes and evolutionary consequences of meiotic drive: spore killing.

Sakkie Pretorius, Australia

Professor Sakkie Pretorius is Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research at Macquarie University in Sydney. He has a background in synthetic yeast genomics and wine biotechnology. Sakkie began his career in South Africa. At Stellenbosch University, he became the founding Director of South Africa’s Institute for Wine Biotechnology. In the US and Europe, he conducted research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. In 2003, Sakkie relocated to Adelaide to take up the role of Managing Director of the Australian Wine Research Institute. In 2013, he took up his current role as Deputy Vice Chancellor Research at Macquarie University where he also initiated a research program in Synthetic Biology and founded the Australian Genome Foundry. He is the driving force behind a university-wide BioInnovation Strategy and leads the Australian team of the International Synthetic Yeast Genome project. Sakkie has published 230 research papers, delivered 600 conference presentations, won research grants totalling more than $120 million, achieved many awards, and filed six patents. Over the past three decades, he has supervised or co-supervised 33 PhD students and 56 MSc students.

Theme 6: Nomenclature

Chair 1, Tom May (Australia)

Tom is a Senior Research Scientist at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, in Melbourne, Australia. His research covers taxonomy, biogeography, ecology and conservation of larger fungi, as well as the history of mycology. Building on his lead role in the compilation of the Catalogue and bibliography of Australian macrofungi, Tom maintains the national species list for Australian fungi. He has been a member of the Nomenclature Committee for Fungi since 2004 and is currently secretary of that group and was secretary of the Bureau of Fungal Nomenclature at the Fungal Nomenclature Session of the 11th International Mycological Congress, a role he will also carry out at IMC12 in Amsterdam. Related to these roles, Tom is one of the editors of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, and will be involved in production of revised versions of Chapter F of the Code, dealing with matters specific to fungi. Tom was on the founding Committee of the Australasian Mycological Society, and is currently a member of the International Commission on the Taxonomy of Fungi and the IUCN, Species Survival Commission, Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball Specialist Group. Tom serves on the editorial board of several mycological journals. Tom has participated in numerous outreach activities about fungi for schools and the wider community. In 1995, Tom founded the citizen science organization Fungimap and was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2014 for his work with community natural history groups.

Chair 2, Konstanze Bensch (Germany)

Konstanze’s research focuses on the taxonomy, nomenclature, biodiversity and phylogeny of certain groups of ascomycetous fungi with hyphomycetous asexual morphs, such as Cladosporium s.l. and Venturia (Fusicladium) that have been intensively studied and monographed. She worked at the Botanische Staatssammlung in Munich, Germany, with the SNSB IT Center for the Global Plants initiative, an international collaboration aiming to digitize and make available plant and fungal type specimens. Several thousand type specimens of lichens and fungi housed in the Munich herbarium were imaged and databased and are available now on JSTOR Global Plants. Konstanze is an elected member of the permanent Nomenclature Committee for Fungi (NCF) and strongly engaged in nomenclatural issues of fungi. Since 2016 she has been working as scientific data curator for MycoBank.

Chair 3, Bevan Weir (New Zealand)

Bevan is the Research Leader for Mycology and Bacteriology systematics at New Zealand’s environment focussed government research facility Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research. He is curator of New Zealand’s national culture collection of fungi and bacteria, the ICMP, and is a councillor of both the New Zealand and Australasian mycological societies. Bevan’s research interests are systematics and genomics of plant pathogens, in particular the genus Colletotrichum. He has had an active role in most of the major incursions of plant pathogens in New Zealand in the past decade, working closely with central government agencies.


Catherine Aime, USA

Cathie earned her doctorate in Biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2001 under the tutelage of Orson K. Miller and completed her postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom in the lab of Lorna Casselton. She worked for four years as a research molecular biologist with the USDA-ARS, Systematic Botany and Mycology Lab in Beltsville, MD, and for four years as an Assistant and Associate Professor at Louisiana State University.  Currently she is Professor of Mycology in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology and Director of the Arthur and Kriebel Herbaria at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. The Aime Lab researches the systematics and evolution of early diverging basidiomycetes and of tropical fungi. Of particular interest are rust fungi and fungal diseases of tropical tree crops such as coffee and cacao and their socio-economic impacts on rural farmers in developing economies. Cathie is a Fellow of the Mycological Society of America (MSA), the Explorer’s Club, and the Linnaean Society of London, a former officer of the MSA and past Managing Editor of the journal Mycologia, and a Purdue University Faculty Scholar.

Robert Lucking, Germany

Robert obtained his PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Ulm (Germany) in 1994. After a visiting professorship at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife (Brazil), in 1998 and a postdoc to obtain his habilitation in Botany at the University of Bayreuth (Germany) in 2001, he became Collections Manager & Adjunct Curator (Lichens & Fungi) at the Field Museum, Chicago, where he worked until 2015. Since 2015, Robert is Curator (Lichens, Fungi, Bryophytes) at Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum of the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Robert’s research focuses on tropical lichens (taxonomy, systematics, evolution, ecology, biogeography, uses) and more recently on fungal evolution, systematics, and nomenclature.

Theme 7: Applied Mycology

Chair 1: Lene Jesperson (Denmark)

Lene Jespersen (LJ) is Professor in Microbial Ecology and Food Fermentation at the Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen (KU). She has an Industrial PhD (1994) comprising the use of flow cytometry for single cell analyses in brewing yeasts. In 1996, she joined the university and in 2008, she was awarded a professorship. Her research focuses on fermented foods, food mycology, yeast biodiversity, microbial interactions, single cell analysis, microbial functionality, food matrix interactions, food safety, sustainable food production, bio-preservation as well as the effects of food borne microorganisms on gut microbiota and human health. Lene  has headed several international, EU and national research projects as well as several research projects with the private sector. Most of these projects have been centred on the valuable utilisation of microorganisms for the production of tasty, healthy and sustainable foods from highly industrialised products to indigenous fermented products in Africa and South America. Her dissemination accounts >150 scientific publications and book chapters, >70 proceedings and >30 oral presentations at international and national scientific conferences; many of these in collaboration with >30 supervised PhD students.

Chair 2: Richard Bélanger (Canada)

Dr. Richard Bélanger is full professor in plant pathology and holder of a Canada Research Chair in plant protection at Laval University. His research endeavors concentrate on the development of biological and non-chemical approaches to control plant diseases. Along those lines, sustained efforts have been devoted toward biological control of powdery mildews with natural antagonists. Belanger’s lab has pioneered the exploitation of the fungus Pseudozyma flocculosa and its unique properties to attack powdery mildews. This research has led the way to the development of a commercial product and to the elucidation of an unusual tritrophic interaction where the plant, the pathogen and the biocontrol fungus each contributes coordinated factors leading to the collapse of the pathogen.

Chair 3: Nancy Keller (United States)

Nancy Keller’s lab has long focused on dissecting secondary metabolite pathways in filamentous fungi and how the products of these pathways adversely (mycotoxins) or positively (drug discovery) impact human kind as well as their ecological role in pathogenesis (human, animal and plant) and interactions with other microbes (bacteria).


Martin Kimanya, Tanzania

Prof. Martin Epafras Kimanya is an associate Professor of Food and Nutrition Sciences at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST). He is a holder of PhD in Applied Biological Sciences and Master’s & Bachelor’s degrees in Food Science and Technology. While keeping his role as a supervisor of PhD candidates and an active participant in research projects at NM-AIST, Prof. Martin Kimanya is currently serving as the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Technical Expert for the East African Community Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP), funded by the European Union and the Government of Germany. Prior to joining MARKUP, Martin worked as Technical Advisor on Aflatoxin Control for the African Union Commission (January 2017 – September 2018. For over 15 years, Martin has been participating in research on food safety and nutrition sciences with special interest in impact of aflatoxin and fumonisin exposure in humans. He has supervised several post-graduate students including 10 at PhD level. Martin is a recipient of several awards including appointment as the permanent corresponding member for the Belgium Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences, in the Section of Natural and Medical Sciences. He is a member of several scientific committees and advisory boards in Tanzania and abroad and has co-authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.

Matteo Lorito, Italy

Matteo Lorito is the Rector of the University of Naples Federico II. He is Full Professor of Plant Pathology and Phytopathological Biotechnology and has been Director of the Department of Agricultural Sciences. He is the President of the Italian Society of Plant Pathology. His scientific activity has focused on the study of plant-environment micro/macroorganism interactions, from basic genetic/biotechnological research to field application, aimed at increasing the quality, quantity and sustainability of agricultural production. He is co-founder of 3 spin-offs/startups: Phytobials, Biomarinex and RE&DIT. He has contributed to the development of about 10 formulations on the global market (90 countries) applied as biopesticides and biofertilizers in collaboration with several multinational companies. He is an inventor in about 15 international patents and has collected funding on competitive calls for over 15 million euros. He has received many awards, including being a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society, member of the European Academy of Science and Research, the International Prize “Guido Dorso” for having supported development and progress of Southern Italy, the Capo d’Orlando Scientific Award for the Science and Food section, and the Voce di Napoli Award – Forming the Future 2021 50 top Italy.

Workshop Coordinators

Jan Dijksterhuis (The Netherlands)

Jan started his studies at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) were he graduated as a microbiologist. In 1993 he defended his Ph.D at the same university on nematode-fungal interactions including the infection and digestion of nematodes by predacious fungi, using electron- and light microscopy. Then (1993–1997) he worked at the Agrotechnological Research Institute (ATO) at Wageningen (The Netherlands). Here he performed research on biocontrol of post-harvest diseases of flower bulbs by means of antagonistic bacteria. His next move (1997) was to the University of Edinburgh (UK) where he worked on encystment of Phytophthora and Pythium species at the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology (ICMB)  on an EERO (European Environmental Research Organisation) Award with Dr Jim Deacon. Subsequently, he worked with Dr Nick Read at the same University on rust fungi and hyphal growth of the plant pathogen Rhizoctonia solani as studied by confocal microscopy. In 1999 he returned to Wageningen at the ATO and WCFS (Top Institute Food & Nutrition) to study heat resistant ascospores and food spoilage, as well as Aspergillus oryzae and solid state fermentation. In 2001 he started as a senior researcher at the Department of Applied Research and Services at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute where he deals with the biology of fungal survival structures, including extreme stress-resistant fungal ascospores.

Arend van Peer (The Netherlands)

Arend van Peer is the team leader of Mushroom Research at Plant Breeding, WUR. He is in charge of a team of 8 professionals consisting of PIs, Postdocs and Technicians. Next to the management of his team, his roles include acquisition, project management, education and consultancy, and exchange of information through various international networks and industries.

The mission of his group is to explore and expand the applications of mushroom forming fungi in the bio-based economy, bio-materials, cultivation of existing and new mushrooms, and new applications in medicine.

Arend’s interest in fungi started during his Masters in Biology at the RijksUniversiteit Groningen. he was intrigued by their physiology, genetics and biotechnological applications. During his PhD thesis on the Splitgill Mushroom at the University of Utrecht, his focus centred on mushroom forming fungi. He soon realized that studies on applications of mushroom forming fungi, other than as crops, were only just emerging. A whole unknown and exiting world was awaiting exploration! The following eight years he dedicated to studies on the genetics and development of mushroom forming fungi in South Korea (Postdoc),  Japan (JSPS Research Fellow) and China (Professor). At WUR he continues to explore new applications of mushroom forming fungi, and where he is coordinating the European Mushroom Working Group.

Jorinde Nuytinck (The Netherlands)

Jorinde Nuytinck’s research focus is on ectomycorrhizal fungi in the order Russulales. She routinely combines fieldwork and morphological research with a cutting edge molecular approach. Her goal is to understand evolution and diversification in the milkcaps and other genera and to translate these insights into a systematic framework. She also collaborates with citizen scientists in DNA barcoding projects on a plethora of fungi and is coordinating several fungal metabarcoding studies. The huge and largely undiscovered diversity of fungi makes fungal systematics a challenging and exciting discipline. How all this diversity evolved is an even greater mystery. A passion for integrative taxonomy combined with a strong interest in molecular phylogenetics and evolution have helped shape her career as a mycologist.

Jos Houbraken (The Netherlands)

Jos is group leader of the department Applied and Industrial Mycology at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute in the Netherlands. The mission of his group is to generate and apply knowledge of fungi in relation to food, indoor environment and industry. His main interest is studying the biodiversity and taxonomy of the species and genera occurring in food & feed (incl. mycotoxigenic fungi) and the built environment, with a focus on PenicilliumAspergillus and related genera. His research group also studies the effect of various stresses (e.g. temperature, water activity, preservatives) on food- and indoor fungi at a fundamental and applied level, with the aim to find novel solutions for prevention of food spoilage and fungal growth in the harsh indoor environment.

Teun Boekhout (The Netherlands)

Teun works as a principal investigator at Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute (formerly CBS Fungal Biodiversity Centre), Utrecht, and the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, at the University of Amsterdam. His main research interest relates to yeast diversity, and includes aspects such as the evolution of opportunism/pathogenicity, role of yeasts in the mycobiome, but also in fermentations. He is the present editor in chief of, an open access platform on yeast diversity. He has been involved as editor in several mycological journals. He is a commissioner of the International Commission of Yeasts of IUMS and in 2018, he was elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He has also acted as vice-chair and chair of the Division Mycology and other Eukaryotic Microbes (MEM) of IUMS.

Gertien Smits (The Netherlands)

Gertien Smits is an assistant professor in the department of Molecular Biology and Microbial Food Safety of the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences. Her research has always addressed the incredible ability of microbes, and in particular yeasts and fungi, for homeostasis in changing environments. Understanding of the physiological, molecular and cell biological responses to change, and their contribution to survival and proper function, helps us sustain microbial life in the environment, exploit microbes in industrial applications, and combat microbes in infection and disease. Her current work focuses on intracellular pH control and signal transduction, and on the role of yeasts in microbial consortia.