Undergraduate Student Vacation Bursaries

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.

 

2022 bursary awards

Six bursaries have been awarded to a range of projects covering medical mycology, plant pathology, beverage production and fungal ecology.

 

Mycorrhizas and soil carbon

Brigid Wong will be 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 will be focusing 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 Nichols will be 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 will be conducting 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

Lottie Goodman will be working 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 Trombetta will be 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 will investigate 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.

Diversity of fungal endophytes of the sea grass Zostera marina in relation to variations in water salinity

Natalia Timanikova will work in the lab of Prof Stephen Woodward (University of Aberdeen) on a project that is adding add to the existing, very sparse, knowledge of whether terrestrial plants that colonised the marine environment retained fungal symbionts. The importance of this research area stems mainly from the role of seagrasses as critical components in some valuable ecosystems, their role in carbon capture and therefore climate change mitigation.  Natalia will use microscopy and metabarcoding to investigate differences in fungal endophyte communities in seagrasses, in response to varying levels of salinity as an ecological factor.

Sporulation of Zymoseptoria tritici

Ella Vettori will be supervised by Dr Andy Bailey (Universtiy of Bristol) in a project that seeks 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 will be using a variety of techniques including handling of fungal isolates, plant inoculation, disease assessment, microscopy, image analysis and data analysis.