Category Archives: travel

MSA 2016

Some us from the lab took a trip up to Berkeley, CA for the MSA 2016 meeting. We road tripped by car from Riverside through the central valley up to Berkeley.


At the conference we had a great chance to meet with other mycologists, ecologists, and fungal enthusiasts. The meeting was fantastic from the Clark Kerr campus at UC Berkeley we had dorm life living so everyone was close by and could eat meals together. The talks and posters were really outstanding and such fun to talk about interesting research in fungi. Clearly genomics, next generation sequencing are at the forefront of tools used by the community but new approaches to visualizing communities and exploring the interactions between fungi and partners like bacteria and plants were very well explored in the meeting. Some great work on microbiomes and mycobiomes of insects and amphibians also made for some fascinating new results.  There was a MSA session dedicated to some results from the ZyGoLife project and our team also had a one day meeting earlier in the week at the Joint Genome Institute to catch up on all the different team projects (a long post on this will appear on the zygolife project page soon). It was also fun to catch up with former lab member Steven Ahrendt who now works at JGI on early diverging fungi genome projects.

The meeting also featured Arturo Casadevall as the Karling lecture – an honor to bring in a scientist who is likely an outside member of the MSA community to speak about fungi. Dr Casadevall gave a lecture that covered the importance of collaboration, the impact of the pressure to publish in ‘one word journals’, and reviewed his provocative hypothesis about the link in the success of fungi, dinofall of dinosaurs, and rise of mammals. He also paid tribute to Thomas Taylor, a Zygolife collaborator who sadly passed away this Spring but who would have been the Karling lecturer this year.


Jason spoke on new population genomics work on Candida and Fusarium, while Sawyer presented a poster on Rhizopus stolonifer resequencing and population genomics; Derreck presented a poster on Bacteria-Fungi interactions on Serratia and zygomycete fungi; Nat presented his poster on data from first environmental sequencing of desert biological soil crusts from Joshua Tree National Park. On the way back we stopped for an overnight in Pinnacles National Park. Much fun, science, and discussions were had throughout the week.




We also stopped to take our first lab album cover photo while in Pinnacles. More to come!


French connection

Jason was at the European Conference on Fungal Genetics in Paris this April and had a chance to deliver a lecture. It was a great meeting of science and there was a lot of social media coverage by participants.

Jason and Ousmane also attended the 1st conference on multicellular development in fungi where Ousmane presented his work on the Neolecta genome and comparative biology of the Taphrinomycotina fungi.

An ascus of Neurospora biologists…
It was a bit imposing to be on stage with bright colored backdrop
I showed some colorful trees
Little Jason and big slides

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Mural at a school with a mushroom little red riding hood and mushrooms in the forest
Mural at a school with a mushroom little red riding hood and mushrooms in the forest

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IMC10 – Bangkok, Thailand

I had the great opportunity to attend the International Mycological Congress 10 in Bangkok, Thailand during this summer. It was filled with talks from mycologists studying cell biology, genetics, evolution, symbioses, ecology, production of secondary metabolites, and many other aspects of mycology from across the world. It was a great chance to hear about new work in many different experimental systems.  I chaired a session on Population Genomics and GWAS in Fungi and got to hear some great perspectives and approaches on model and non-model systems. I presented my talk on data analysis tools in metagenomics. I got to catch up with many friends/collaborators/colleagues and meet some new folks.

I’m jealous of the folks who got to take some of the post-conference excursions through Thailand or ventured even further to Laos and Cambodia. Hopefully next trip to this area I’ll have the chance to explore more.

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Back from Ireland

I am back from a short trip to Ireland where I gave a seminar at National University of Ireland, Maynooth and spend some time with folks interested in evolution or fungi like David Fitzpatrick, James McInerney, Davide Pisani. I also learned about a new spinoff company from one of the faculty producing media that will help Bee immune systems. In my chats with some of the faculty I found out that I had lots in common with Sean Doyle on Aspergillus and some basidiomycete genomics questions and also much in common with Gary Jones working on prions in yeast.  After my trip to Maynooth, I spent a few days in Dublin afterwards to see the town which included a visit with some Dublin yeast researchers Ken Wolfe and Geraldine Butler who took me out to see Newgrange.

I learned that there is an abundance of yeast research in Ireland.  In addition to the researchers there is a whole shop devoted to Yeast.
The Irish Yeast Co
And my visit to the Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate taught me that that Yeast is a national treasure in Ireland.
Complete with an important safe for insuring there are backup strains. I have to assume there is a -80 freezer somewhere in the Guinness complex holding old strains as well.

Did you know one of the master brewers at Guinness was also the inventor of the Student’s T-test? Here’s the proof

So it was great to visit and look forward to going back at least in 2012 when SMBE will be held in Dublin.