Biology and genetics of reproduction in filamentous fungi

   School of Life Sciences

  Prof P S Dyer, Dr Matthias Brock  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Fungi have beneficial but also detrimental properties. They are used for the production of foodstuffs and valuable pharmaceuticals and enzymes. However, they can also cause devastating plant and animal diseases. The PhD project has the overall theme of exploiting knowledge of fungal sexual reproduction to lead to improved food quality/security and better understanding and management of fungal disease. A combination of classical microbiology and biochemistry, molecular genetics and bioinformatic methods are being used to study this area. Project work includes the following areas. (1) Exploration of physiological and molecular controls of sex in fungi with aim of promoting sex in beneficial species and designing novel methods of disease control using fungal sex hormones. Also study of the evolution of asexuality and development in lichen-forming fungi. (2) Exploitation of sexual reproduction in beneficial species for strain improvement. Studies include food species used for cheese and mycoprotein production. (3) Evolution of antifungal resistance. Studies focus on pathogenic Aspergillus species with the aim of improved disease control via diagnostic development.

PhD studies will be based in the Fungal Biology and Genetics group at Nottingham, which is very well equipped for classical and molecular studies. The group has collaborative links to other fungal biology groups in the UK and overseas. The PhD will also offer training in data analysis, statistics and research skills. Key references as below.

Biological Sciences (4) Food Sciences (15) Medicine (26)


Swilaiman SS et al. (2020). Global sexual fertility in the opportunistic pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus and identification of new supermater strains. Journal of Fungi 6: 258.
Whittaker JA et al. (2020). The biotechnology of Quorn mycoprotein: past, present and future challenges. In: Nevalainen H. (ed) Grand Challenges in Fungal Biotechnology pp. 59-79. Springer.
Ojeda-Lopez M et al. (2018). Evolution of asexual and sexual reproduction in the aspergilli. Studies in Mycology 91: 37-59.
Böhm J et al. (2013). Sexual reproduction and mating-type–mediated strain development in the penicillin-producing fungus Penicillium chrysogenum. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110: 1476–1481.
Dyer PS, O'Gorman CM (2012). Sexual development and cryptic sexuality in fungi: insights from Aspergillus species. FEMS Microbiology Reviews 36: 165-192.
O’Gorman CM, Fuller HT, Dyer PS (2009). Discovery of a sexual cycle in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Nature 457: 471-474.

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