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Course Fungal Biodiversity 2018 by Webmaster Courses 2017-09-22 11:29:53
 
February 5-16 2018 Registration

Venue: Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, Utrecht, Uppsalalaan 8, The Netherlands.
Price: € 2000,-

This two-week course provides a concise overview of the biodiversity of organisms making up the Kingdoms Fungi and Chromista. The course focuses on systematics and general ecology of fungi, as well as related topics such as soil mycology and diagnostics of plant pathogens. Both visual and molecular recognition methods will be discussed and practical hands-on experience will be gained in the morphological recognition, isolation and cultivation of fungi. The course is intended for (micro)biology students, PhD students, technicians and scientists/students who would like to obtain a fundamental understanding of fungi

Outline of the topics treated in this course:

  • General Introduction 
  • General methods: Aseptic working, media and incubation, microscopic examination of Fungi
  • Introduction to the Fungal Kingdom with examples: Oomycota, Zygomycota, Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, deuteromycetes, yeasts
  • Oomycota and Chytridiomycota with examples
  • Zygomycota (Mucoromycotina)
  • Nomenclature of Fungi
  • Conidiogenesis with examples
  • Aspergillus, Penicillium, Paecilomyces and sexual morphs with examples
  • Ascomycota
  • Basidiomycota (Pucciniomycotina, Ustilaginomycotina, Tremellomycetes )
  • Isolation techniques (soil, plants and dung)
  • Trichoderma, Fusarium, Cylindrocladium and Cylindrocarpon
  • Fungal ecology
  • Coelomycetous asexual morphs
  • Genera with septate and pigmented poroconidia (Alternaria, Bipolaris, Cladosporium, Curvularia)
  • Basidiomycota (Agaricomycetes, incl. wood decay fungi)
  • Molecular methods for identification such as DNA-barcoding and phylogenetic inference
  • Yeasts: biology, phylogenies and polyphasic identification
  • Polyphasic identification and other aspects of bioinformatics
  • Nagoya protocol (Access and Benefit Sharing)
  • Diagnostics of plant pathogens
  • Preventing the spread of plant pathogens
  •  Introductory lecture on material available living plants with disease symptoms
  • Ecology of extremophilic and clinical fungi 
  •  Fungi in our daily life 
  • Demonstrations: CBS collection (lyophilization, liquid nitrogen)

Course leaders:
Prof Dr Pedro Crous and Dr Gerard Verkley
Topical lectures will be presented by specialists from the Westerdijk Institute and invited speakers

Language of instruction:
The course is given in the English language, but several other languages are spoken (Dutch, German).

Location:
The course will take place at Westerdijk Institute, Utrecht, Uppsalalaan 8, the Netherlands

Course fee:
€ 2000 (accommodation and food not included).

Lunches and the Course book Laboratory Manual Series I: Fungal Biodiversity by Crous et al. are included in course fee. Accomodation excluded.


     
 
Facilitair Manager by Webmaster Vacancies 2017-09-08 13:33:23
 

Facilitair Manager
full time (1.0 fte 38 hours)

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Grand opening of new wing @ Westerdijk Institute by Webmaster News 2017-09-12 08:37:41
 

Last week has been a phenomenal week for us and our institute. We hosted a symposium week, which meant a lot of symposia with many interesting topics, such as Famous Fungi, Plant Biomass Conversion of Fungi, Leading Women in Fungal Biology and more. It all culminated into the grand opening of our new wing on August 31st.
After the opening speech of our Director Pedro Crous, the Mayor of Utrecht Jan van Zanen and the President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences José van Dijck unveiled the bronze statue of Johanna Westerdijk. The board members of our academic partners, Louise Fresco of Wageningen University and Research, Karin Maex of University of Amsterdam and Bert van der Zwaan of Utrecht University planted the first three resistant Elm trees around the statue of Johanna Westerdijk. Louise Fresco had a surprise in store for us, as she donated two more elms to our institute.
Then it was time for the official opening of the new wing. This was performed by Mieke Zaanen, director of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Managing Director of our institute Mariëtte Oosterwegel. They unveiled a banner that read Fungi are the Future. We then raised a toast to the new building with a special Westerdijk-beer, titled: Schoone Geest, brewed by our own Teun Boekhout. And with that beer came a lovely Dutch song, performed by De Meisjes Met De Wijsjes with customized Westerdijk lyrics.
With this new wing we are ready for the future. Because we firmly believe that Fungi are the Future!

 

     
 
Johanna Westerdijk Award - Prof. Josepa Gené by Webmaster News 2017-08-31 13:46:32
 

Prof. Pedro Crous, director of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute hands the Johanna Westerdijk Award to Prof. Josepa Gené. Prof. Gené works at the Department of Basic Medical Sciences (DCMB) at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain.

Johanna Westerdijk award:

Awarded on special occasions to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the culture collection of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute, marking a distinguished career in mycology. Nominees for the award will be evaluated on the basis of quality, originality, and quantity of their contributions to the collection, and on the basis of associated mycological research in genera.

 

     
 
Nieuwe schimmels vernoemd naar kinderen by Webmaster News 2017-08-30 15:31:06
 

Hun namen zijn bijna niet uit te spreken: de 'Talaromyces annesophieae' en de 'Fusarium Petersiae'. Maar wat zijn het?

Ontdekt

Het zijn twee nieuwe schimmelsoorten! En er is iets bijzonders mee: ze zijn ontdekt door kinderen. Daarom zijn ze ook naar hen vernoemd.

Onderzoekers van het Westerdijk instituut zochten de hulp van kinderen bij het ontdekken van nieuwe schimmels en dat bleek een groot succes. Wij zochten Nieve en Lola op. Zij hebben twee schimmels een naam gegeven:

 

Je kunt het fragment hier terugkijken.

 

     
 
New genus named after President of the Academy by Webmaster News 2017-08-30 11:56:05
 

We had a big surprise in store today for the President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, José van Dijck. She came to deliver her inspiring opening talk, speaking enthusiastically about Westerdijks legacy calling her the Queen of Diversity. After the talk our Director Pedro Crous surprised her with some news. A few months ago, José van Dijck submitted the first soil sample in the Citizen Science Project that we organised in collaboration with the Utrecht University Museum. We analysed her sample and found a new genus! We named it after her: Vandijckella johannae.

 

     
 
PhD student by Webmaster Vacancies 2017-09-18 14:55:04
 

PhD student
full time (1.0 fte 38 hours)

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Speakers:

Dr. Patricia Faasse, Rathenau Institute, lecture “Johanna Westerdijk – Pioneer in plant Pathology”. Patricia surprised the audience, consisting of staff, students and alumni of the Department of Biology and the Faculty of Science of UU, with a Westerdijk Quiz! All were asked to stand up and answer multiple choice questions about Johanna Westerdijk. If you gave the wrong answer you had to sit down. At the end 3 were still standing. What a fun way to celebrate the life of Johanna Westerdijk! Soon a family tree of 271(!) descendants of the Academic Heritage of Johanna Westerdijk will be presented by Patricia!

Dr. Saskia van Wees, University of Utrecht, Biology Department, lecture “What a difference a century makes for plant pathology research”. Saskia gave a great talk about plant microbe interactions. And she revealed that in 1990 she took part in the Phytopathology course of the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (now the Westerdijk Institute) in Baarn, in villa Madoera!

Prof. Pedro Crous, Westerdijk Institute, Key lecture “Biodiversity and impact of Phytopathogenic fungi”. Pedro took us on an exciting trip through the centuries, by showing the impact of fungi on society then and now. From the witches of Salem to Dutch Elm Disease and Ash dieback. There’s no such thing as durable resistance: pathogens are moving - Fungi now travel around the globe.

All 3 speakers were presented with a (resistant!) Elm tree.

The Biology Department can certainly look back on a well-organized and exciting event!

 

     
   

Op 14 juni heeft prof. dr. Teun Boekhout zijn oratie gegeven in de Aula van de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Teun is benoemd tot bijzonder hoogleraar Fungal Functional Diversity aan de Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica. De leerstoel is ingesteld met het Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute. 

Zijn rede Theatrum Fungorum: Van Campernoelje en Kleyne Deeltjens s als webcollege opgenomen. Je kunt het college hier terugkijken. Je kunt het college hier teruglezen.

Bijzonder hoogleraar
Teun Boekhout zal zich in zijn onderzoek richten op de bio- en functionele diversiteit en de natuurlijke niche van (pathogene; ziekteverwekker van biologische oorsprong) schimmels (inclusief gisten). Dit doet hij zowel in de gematigde streken als in de tropen. Hij kijkt onder meer naar de ecosysteemfuncties van deze schimmels en hoe deze functies veranderen onder invloed van klimaatveranderingen, en naar de migratieroutes van (vooral pathogene) schimmels. 
Verder zal Boekhout diagnostic tools voor ziekte-veroorzakende schimmels gaan ontwikkelen. Met UvA-studenten hoopt hij ook de plaats die fermenterende gisten innemen in een ecosysteem (natuurlijke niches) te ontrafelen en de resulterende isolaten te benutten voor bijvoorbeeld fermentaties.

Teun Boekhout geeft college op het terrein van de biologie van schimmels, pathogenen en symbionten aan bachelor- en masterstudenten Biologie, Biomedische wetenschappen en Future Planet Studies.

Boekhout is sinds 1987 werkzaam bij het Westerdijk Instituut. Sinds 2001 leidt hij het onderzoek naar gisten en paddenstoelen. Tevens is hij visiting professor aan Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Medical Mycology en research fellow bij het Institute of Microbiology van de Chinese Academy of Sciences (IM-CAS) in Beijing. Boekhout is ook voorzitter van de divisie ‘Mycology and (other) Eukaryote Microbiology’ van de International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS).

Boekhout Group

     
 
The Japanese ambassador visits the Westerdijk Institute by Webmaster News 2017-06-12 07:24:42
 

We got a visit from the ambassador of Japan, mr Hirosha Inomata and his wife. They were accompanied by the mayor of Gemeente Utrecht, Jan van Zanen. The tour was led by Ronald de Vries, our group leader Fungal Physiology Research. The Japanese ambassador was very impressed with the size of the collection and the efforts and initiatives to mine this collection for relevant enzymes and metabolites. He could imagine that many people would want to come here and use our infrastructure, including companies.
We always feel very proud to show our collection and our research.

     
 
So so so proud! Our state-of-the-art new facility! by Webmaster News 2017-06-02 14:55:34
 

So so so proud! Our state-of-the-art new facility! Same location, more space! More room for the world’s largest living fungal collection to enrich and expand. And new facilities for our innovative research on novel product discovery. Time to install our equipment!



     
 
Westerdijk Pub Quiz: Thursday 8 June! by Webmaster News 2017-05-31 11:51:17
 
     
   

Datum: woensdag 14 juni 2017, 16:00 uur
Locatie: Aula Universiteit van Amsterdam, ingang Singel 411, hoek Spui

In september 2016 benoemde de Universiteit van Amsterdam dr. Teun Boekhout tot bijzonder hoogleraar Fungal Functional Diversity aan de Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica. De leerstoel is ingesteld vanwege het Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.
Op woensdag 14 juni zal dr. Boekhout zijn hoogleraarsambt openlijk aanvaarden door het uitspreken van zijn rede Theatrum Fungorum: Van Campernoelje en Kleyne Deeltjens. Alle geïnteresseerden zijn van harte welkom om de oratie bij te wonen.

Bijzonder hoogleraar
Teun Boekhout zal zich in zijn onderzoek richten op de bio- en functionele diversiteit en de natuurlijke niche van (pathogene; ziekteverwekker van biologische oorsprong) schimmels (inclusief gisten). Dit doet hij zowel in de gematigde streken als in de tropen. Hij kijkt onder meer naar de ecosysteemfuncties van deze schimmels en hoe deze functies veranderen onder invloed van klimaatveranderingen, en naar de migratieroutes van (vooral pathogene) schimmels.
Verder zal Boekhout diagnostic tools voor ziekte-veroorzakende schimmels gaan ontwikkelen. Met UvA-studenten hoopt hij ook de plaats die fermenterende gisten innemen in een ecosysteem (natuurlijke niches) te ontrafelen en de resulterende isolaten te benutten voor bijvoorbeeld fermentaties.

Teun Boekhout geeft college op het terrein van de biologie van schimmels, pathogenen en symbionten aan bachelor- en masterstudenten Biologie, Biomedische wetenschappen en Future Planet Studies.

Boekhout is sinds 1987 werkzaam bij het Westerdijk Instituut. Sinds 2001 leidt hij het onderzoek naar gisten en paddenstoelen. Tevens is hij visiting professor aan Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Medical Mycology en research fellow bij het Institute of Microbiology van de Chinese Academy of Sciences (IM-CAS) in Beijing. Boekhout is ook voorzitter van de divisie ‘Mycology and (other) Eukaryote Microbiology’ van de International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS).

 

Boekhout Group

     
   

During the Westerdijk Anniversary Year the Utrecht University organizes lunchtime lectures, an interesting insight into an aspect of microbiology or Westerdijk, combined with culinary lunch bites. On May 22nd Pedro Crous will talk about the legacy of Johanna Westerdijk.

In 1904 Prof. Frits A.F.C. Went received permission from the International Botanical Society to initiate an international culture collection for microbes. The Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (now Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute) was founded shortly thereafter. In 1907, Johanna Westerdijk (23 years old at the time) became the first director of the institute.

The collection started to expand drastically; many strains were submitted by phytopathology students or international colleagues that Westerdijk approached herself. Over the past 117 years, the collection has grown into the world’s largest living fungal collection. But what is Westerdijk’s real legacy? Is it in today’s vast number of strains, or are there other more memorable milestones?

Culinary event
During this lunchtime lecture, chef Ruud Klapmuts will hold a culinary event outside the Westerdijk Institute (Uppsalalaan 8, USP De Uithof). On the spot he will prepare hot and cold fungi snacks, such as stir-fried mushrooms. From 11:00 till 12:00 hrs and from 13:00 till 13:30 hrs you are welcome to enjoy a variety of edible fungi.

Register via Westerdijk@uu.nl. Lunch will be provided.

UU-website

     
 
Dr. Huub van der Aa passed away. by Webmaster News 2017-05-10 13:38:45
 

On Sunday 7 May Dr.  Huub van der Aa passed away. Huub was a well-known mycologist and he published many articles on coelomycetous fungi. He was also a co-author of the book “A revision of the species described in Phyllosticta”. Huub was loved by all of us here at the Westerdijk Institute who had the privilege of knowing him. He always had hilarious stories to share about the old days, about Westerdijk, von Arx, and many, many more. We will all miss him, as mycology has lost another great spirit.

Huub’s funeral takes place Tuesday May 16.

     
 
Dr Walter Gams passed away by Webmaster News 2017-05-10 13:34:13
 

On Sunday 9 April Prof.  dr Walter Gams passed away in his beloved Italy. Walter worked at CBS for the whole of his scientific career, and was widely seen internationally as the world expert on soil fungi; microfungi in particular. He still visited the institute two weeks ago to bring us to Phoma isolates he just cultured. We will all miss him, as mycology has lost a great spirit.

Walters funeral took place Saturday April 22.

Turning 80 in Thailand at IMC10

     
 
Meet the Professor (in Dutch) by Webmaster News 2017-04-07 11:39:39
 

In 2017 was het precies honderd jaar geleden dat Johanna Westerdijk als eerste vrouw in Nederland professor werd. Meet the Professor 2017 stond daarom in het teken van vrouwelijke professoren en het onderzoek van Johanna: schimmels!

Het koor in de Aula:

de schimmellespakketten worden lustig gebruikt, zie hier het schimmelonderzoek op de Parkschool filmpje waarin klas bezig is met het lespakket. Let op: dit filmpje hebben leerlingen van het ‘Parkschool Persbureau’ zelf gemaakt!:

En een geweldige reportage van Annetje Ottow op OBS Overvecht:

     
 
Applied mycology: researching fungal stress by Stories 2017-04-05 15:32:39
 

In addition to the plant and animal kingdoms, the taxonomic domain of Eukarya also distinguishes the fungi kingdom. Fungi occur everywhere in the natural world but aren’t as visible as plants or animals. You might see mushrooms in the woods, but the actual fungus comprises more than just this mushroom: unnoticed, it grows in the shape of thin threads in soil. Or on leaves in dark places. So even if fungi are rather inconspicuous, we encounter them all around us in our everyday lives. For instance, did you know that the fungus Aspergillus niger produces citric acid which is used in many foods in order to increase the shelf life of perishable food? Fungi will also make food taste better or sometimes even enhance a foodstuff’s edibility. Think of bread, beer, delicious blue-veined cheese and certain dry sausages.

But then again fungi can be very unpleasant if they colonize your bread or overripe lemon, or if moulds start to grow in your bathroom.

The Westerdijk Institute receives many questions from the general public. The food industry as well as the government want to prevent mould growth in the wrong places (for instance, the indoor climate of dwellings) and would like to know all about prevention.

Did you know that there are species of fungi that generate spores (reproductive cells) which survive temperatures of 80°C and above (e.g. during pasteurisation)? And did you know there are products that use fungi in order to suppress different species of harmful fungi? An example is salami, which is dipped in harmless fungi that researchers isolated and called Penicillium salami.

Fungi are often found in dwellings. If you notice moisture problems you will soon discover mouldy patches. Which types of fungi inhabit our homes? What circumstances do they like? Humid air? High, low or fluctuating temperatures? Many mycological researchers have made observations of fungal growth at specific temperatures or specific degrees of humidity. This is called growth in static conditions. In a cooperation with the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, the Westerdijk Institute conducts a research of fungi in temperature and humidity fluctuations. Such conditions are much more realistic and our researchers discover fungi which specifically thrive in these fluctuating circumstances.

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Lots of food is spoilt because of fungal decay and of course we would rather not have moulds in our homes. Human history abounds with attempts to slow down decay, for instance by drying food or by heating it (pasteurisation). Each time humans come up with a solution, another species of fungi pops up that is able to grow anyway. By learning more about fungi that clear these ‘hurdles’, we may devise new ways to preserve our food. Our research aims at discovering how fungi survive harsh conditions in our food and our homes. In other words: how does a fungus deal with stress. We humans like to throw obstacles at fungi such as antifungal paint or substances and methods that prolong our food’s shelf life. These fungi are really little heroes who continually find new, special weapons to defeat their adversaries.

The research group Applied and Industrial Mycology is supervised by Jos Houbraken and researches fungi in the food industry and in the indoor climate of dwellings

Photo: penicillium roqueforti

     
 
Fungal factory: the factory of the future by Stories 2017-04-05 15:31:10
 

Everybody knows the slogan: ‘Now with extra antioxidants!’ Both in food and in cosmetics, antioxidants are frequently used and consumed. But what exactly are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are substances which counter the natural process of oxidation. Oxidation is a reaction during which body cells are damaged by aggressive substances called free radicals. These free radicals are produced by smoking, sunbathing and certain inflammatory reactions, although a healthy metabolism may also produce free radicals. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals. Vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and minerals such as selenium and zinc are examples of antioxidants.

Many of these antioxidants naturally occur in food, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, red wine, tea and chocolate. These do not provide the antioxidants for cosmetics, however. Those antioxidants are manufactured but the chemical industry has a wish for more sustainability, just like many other industries. Take for instance ‘green chemistry’, in which the use and production of dangerous substances is minimised. Fungi might play an important role by substituting a fungal factory for a part of an actual chemical factory. These fungal factories would manufacture antioxidants in a natural way.

The Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute is searching for fungal factories that are able to produce antioxidants in a natural way. That’s not as easy as it sounds. When we come across a fungus which produces antioxidants, we first have to look for the enzymes responsible for this production. In addition, the enzyme must be active in certain circumstances (a specific pH value and temperature) and the antioxidants must be produced efficiently without any unintended by-products.

Eventually we expect fungal factories to be put to use for several chemical manufacturing processes. A fungal factory, therefore, is the sustainable factory of the future!

Under the supervision of Ronald de Vries, the potential of fungal factories is being researched by the Fungal Physiology Group of the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute. If you would like to know more about this group and its research, look here.