Group Leader: Mhairi Workman
The group is committed to the exploitation of biodiversity of fungi, their utilization in basic research as well as applications in biotechnology.
Mission and visions:
- Challenge the existing portfolio of fungi applied in industry through advancement of new fungal cell factories and improved bioprocessing techniques
- Understand and utilise the natural function of fungi in natural niches and artificial habitats for intelligent selection of strains with new and functional traits
- Advance systems biology approaches in fungi through the design of highly controlled submerged cultivations, tailoring the biomass to facilitate -omics approaches
- Utilise know-how of morphological development as a parameter for both optimized productivity and growth prevention
Fungal biodiversity and phenotyping
To provide the necessary foundation for systems biology research of fungi, multidisciplinary characterisation of species is necessary. An improvement of mycological methods for rapid detection and identification of fungi will be in focus.
Control of fungal growth
Research into the morphology and physiology of spore germination and hyphal growth during substrate colonization is fundamental in order to prevent fungal contamination. A combination of techniques will enable us to study fungal growth in situ.
Complex substrates and enzyme discovery
Mobilisation of nutrients from a variety of waste products is a continuing challenge for the realisation of sustainable bioprocesses. Discovery of enzymes/enzyme combinations is essential for breakdown of renewable biomass resources.
Research within optimisation of bioprocesses and design of cell factories for the tailored production of biochemicals and bioactive compounds is supported by quantitative physiology of submerged cultivations. We apply modern fermentation techniques together with metabolic flux analysis, metabolite profiling and morphological analysis to provide the data necessary for understanding and optimising bioprocesses.