2022 Undergraduate Student Vacation Bursary Awards

In 2022, five bursaries were awarded to a range of projects covering medical mycology, plant pathology, beverage production and fungal ecology.


Mycorrhizas and soil carbon

image.pngBrigid Wong was supervised by Prof Martin Bidartondo (Imperial College London & Kew), Dr Jill Kowal (Kew), and Dr Jim Clarkson (Kew), contributing to a project developing methods for estimating and comparing carbon above- and belowground across habitat types.  Brigid focused on methods for measuring carbon content and biodiversity of mycorrhizal fungi in a meadow habitat. The aim is to evaluate arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) roots by microscopically assessing presence/absence of AMF structures and comparing root samples collected in spring and summer 2022 across ten subplots.



Implications of reduced sugar for yeast physiology and potential for drinks spoilage

Jack NicholsJack Nichols was supervised by Prof Simon Avery and Dr Harry Harvey (University of Nottingham) in a project to understand the similarities and differences in preservative resistance between laboratory and spoilage yeasts in glucose-limited conditions comparable to those of reduced-sugar beverages. Jack conducted high-throughput time-lapse growth assays of spoilage yeasts to examine growth differences between the yeasts in different glucose concentrations in the presence of sorbic acid.




The effect of commercial mycorrhizae on Armillaria root rot of privet and strawberry

image.pngLottie Goodman worked in Dr Jassy Drakulic’s lab (RHS Wisley) on a project collecting data to determine whether mycorrhizae products from different commercial suppliers could help different plant host types during Armillaria root rot outbreaks. Lottie’s contribution will help provide advice for home gardeners, determine if any effects are host-plant dependent and help improve and refine molecular methods to quantify disease in Armillaria-infected root collars.



Teaching an old dog new tricks: Characterisation of the antifungal activity of toyocamycin against Candida albicans

Alessia TrobettaAlessia Trombetta was supervised by Dr Ryan Kean (Glasgow Caledonian University) to help further characterise the activity of Toyocamycin, an adenosine analogue with antibiotic and antitumor activity, that displayed the most potent affect against C. albicans in recent screening. Alessia investigated whether drug resistance to toyocamycin is induced following repeated and frequent exposure; if Toyocamycin displays anti-biofilm activity against C. albicans, and whether the activity of Toyocamycin is altered due to biofilm tolerance mechanisms.



Sporulation of Zymoseptoria tritici

Vettori Fig1Ella Vettori was supervised by Dr Andy Bailey (Universtiy of Bristol) in a project that sought to quantify the levels of sporulation of various isolates of the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici, on a number of different wheat cultivars, to highlight the impact of genotype of the interacting parties on spore productivity. Ella used a variety of techniques including handling of fungal isolates, plant inoculation, disease assessment, microscopy, image analysis and data analysis.



Note: We previously reported that a 2022 bursary had been awarded to Natalia Timanikova, to work in the lab of Prof Stephen Woodward (University of Aberdeen) on a project to investigate differences in fungal endophyte communities in seagrasses in response to varying levels of salinity as an ecological factor.  The award was later declined by Prof Woodward, as Natalia had been successful in receving another grant for a different project, and the BMS bursary would not be used.