Undergraduate student bursaries

Each year, the British Mycological Society offers a number of bursaries for undergraduate students to assist with projects within UK or Ireland universities or research institutes. 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.

 

2021 bursary awards

This year, six bursaries have been awarded to projects in medical mycology and plant pathology.
  • Hazel Irving will be working with Dr Liz Beal, Royal Horticultural Society, to investigate the effect of the environment on disease in plants with high susceptibility to powdery mildew.  The project will look at severity of disease from powdery mildew fungi under varying conditions of water/drought, light/shade and ventilation. It will also include a study of the effect of different plant protection products on mycelial growth. The findings will contribute to the advice RHS gives to members and other gardeners on limiting and controlling powdery mildew diseases.

 

  • Emma Ann Platt will be working with Dr Estrella Luna-Diez, University of Birmingham, to study the effect of elevated CO2 on resistance to the fungal plant pathogen Erysiphe alphitoides.  Although it is speculated that elevated CO2 may increase plant productivity there is also evidence that increased CO2 affects fungal resistance, which could exacerbate disease outbreaks. Emma Ann will investigate this in mature oak trees and seedlings, providing the groundwork for the translation of research into a set of guidelines for woodland owners, policy makers and the general public on how to establish new forests, now and into the future

 

  • Armillaria mellea (honey fungus) causes devastating disease on a range of woody trees and shrubs. In lab studies, Trichoderma soil fungi taken from the roots of healthy plants have been shown to have antagonistic or eradicative properties against A. mellea.  Jude Turner will be working with Dr Andy Bailey, University of Bristol to assess the range of plants in which this occurs, helping to investigate the potential for using such endophytic fungi for biological control of honey fungus.

 

  • Emily Rowlands will be working with Dr Alex Brand, University of Exeter on Candida auris, an inherently drug-resistant fungal pathogen of humans.  The Brand lab has previously found one of the four clades of C. Auris, the South American strain, to be sensitive to myriocin, a metabolite produced by five known species of unrelated fungi.  Emily’s project will extend this study to the other C. auris clades to understand how myriocin works, providing the preliminary data for future studies of these mechanisms.

 

  • The yeast Candida albicans is known to associate with the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus in human infections, increasing the pathogenicity of S. aureus and enabling antibiotic resistance. However, little is known about reciprocal effects.  Working with Dr Ryan Kean, Glasgow Caledonian University, Willemijn Kuiters will be investigating the effect of co-infection with the bacterium S. aureus on the ability of C. albicans to form biofilms (a key infection mechanism in many fungal pathogens) to help establish whether co-infection with S. aureus increases C. albicans pathogenicity and antifungal tolerance.

 

  • Dmytro Prasolov will be working with Dr Carolina Coelho, University of Exeter, on the yeast Cryptococcus neoformans.  In mammals, C. neoformans infection usually occurs in the lungs and usually in immuno-deficient or immune-compromised individuals. Recent studies have shown that deletion of certain C. neoformans genes leads to growth defects; this project will further characterise the defects and measure the impact of genetic deletion on virulence in wax moths, a model organism.  The findings will provide data to support funding applications for further research into the impact in mammalian hosts.