The British Mycological Society offers a number of bursaries for undergraduate students to assist with projects within UK or Ireland universities or research institutes during their last summer vacation. As well as supporting mycology researchers with their investigations, the bursaries enable undergraduates nearing the end of their studies to spend a summer gaining experience and learning, and help encourage and promote appreciation and interest in fungal research.
Applications must be submitted by the research Supervisor, and received by the end of April in the year applied for. Find out more about applying.
2023 bursary awards
The foraging behaviour of cord-forming fungi
Dr Sarah Christofides (Cardiff University) will supervise Sam Duncan in work to characterise the foraging behaviour of cord-forming wood-decay fungi when they encounter a new resource.
A previous study found that fungi preferentially foraged in the direction where they had previously encountered resources. Preliminary data indicates that when fungi encounter a new resource, they then focus subsequent foraging activity in the direction that had previously been successful. The field of fungal behaviour is in its infancy, but is rapidly gaining attention for its insights into how processes such as memory, learning and decision-making can happen in organisms without a brain.
Sexuality in Fusarium species
Edward Hufton will be supervised by Prof Paul Dyer (University of Nottingham), working on a project to investigate the genetic basis of sexuality (male, female, hermaphroditism) in Fusarium species.
Fusarium fungi have both detrimental and beneficial attributes. They are known as serious plant and animal pathogens but are also used for production of mycoprotein, such as that found in Quorn and Natures Fynd. Ideally, a sexual cycle is used to investigate the genetic basis of important traits in Fusarium species and for strain improvement via sexual breeding. However, for many Fusarium species a sexual stage remains unidentified. Improved understanding will support better breeding through the development of molecular markers/diagnostics for sex (male, female or hermaphrodite).
Environmental identification of Baudoinia species in Scotland
Aliaksandra Ogilvie will work in Dr Ryan Kean's lab (Glasgow Caledonian University) to investigate and identify the presence of Baudoinia species in the vicinity of whiskey bonded warehouses.
Baudoinia are slow-growing, environmental fungi that primarily grow outdoors on ethanol-exposed materials. Baudoinia are commonly found growing around bonded warehouses: 'warehouse staining'. Whilst there are no documented health concerns, the fungus is of significant concern environmentally, with potential detrimental effects and impacts on buildings and housing as well as damaging trees and surrounding foliage.
Investigating the phenotypes of "Division of Labour" in aneuploid fungi under antifungal stress
Dr Hung-Ji Tsai (University of Birmingham) will supervise Saba Alhagagi in studying the characteristics and function of Candida albicans cells that have gained or lost chromosomes (aneuploids) to determine whether aneuploid fungi support growth of the fungal population when under stress conditions.
The rapid emergence of multi-drug resistant fungal pathogens has posed a considerable threat to our ecosystem. The existence of aneuploids in a fungal population is linked to stress adaptation in both environmental and clinical fungi: aneuploid cells have varied characteristics that enable adaptive evolution or adaptive mutation, facilitating anti-fungal resistance.