THE AUSTRALASIAN MYCOLOGICAL SOCIETY
PRIZES AND AWARDS
• Dr Jack Warcup Memorial Prize
• AMS Poster Prize
• Daniel McAlpine Medal
DR JACK WARCUP MEMORIAL PRIZE
The Australasian Mycological Society established the Dr Jack Warcup Memorial Prize to honour its first patron and to encourage students to present their work at the Society's conferences. The prize of $250 is awarded for the best talk presented by a student.
Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Symposium, 25 November 2022
Eloise Martin, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Queensland
Stagonospora tauntonensis: a newly discovered species and potential biological control agent for weedy Sporobolus grasses
E. Martin, E Aitken, J Vitelli & T Steinrucken
Inaugural Student Travel Awards for attendance at the AMS Symposium, 25 November 2022
Aindreeya Alcova, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne
Eloise Martin, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Queensland
Weixia Wang, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne
2018 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, QLD, 4-5 July)
Aidan Kane, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney
The effect of fluconazole and isoprenoid inhibitors on yeast pathogens
A. Kane, D. Hibbs, J. Hanrahan & D.A. Carter
Aidan completed his Bachelor’s degree in Medical Science with Honours (First Class) in 2014 at the University of Sydney. His honours research, conducted under Prof. Dee Carter, involved understanding the proteomic response of intrinsically azole-resistant Cryptococcus deuterogattii to fluconazole. He has remained with Dee into his doctoral research, which involves exploiting isoprenoid biosynthesis a strategy for antifungal development.
Aidan’s conference presentation was about the effects of isoprenoid biosynthesis inhibitors on a diverse collection of yeast pathogens in the genera Cryptococcus and Candida. A majority of species were inhibited by isoprenoid biosynthesis inhibitors at concentrations below the dosages toxic to mammals. Isoprenoids, like squalene, are terpene-derived metabolites that feed into a number of vital processes in the fungal cell, including the biosynthesis of ergosterol. Ergosterol synthesis and membrane integration are targets of a number of important antifungals. Aidan found that isoprenoid biosynthesis inhibitors paired with antifungal triazoles resulted in a synergistic interaction, and prevented the development of antifungal resistance. These combinations were fungicidal at higher concentrations, and were capable of inhibiting yeasts in both planktonic and biofilm states. Aidan also found that nematodes fed on Cryptococcus in an invertebrate model of infection were rescued by treatment with combinations of fluconazole and isoprenoid biosynthesis inhibitors.
Aidan’s results indicate that isoprenoid biosynthesis is a promising novel strategy for antifungal drug design, warranting further development.
2016 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Queenstown, NZ, 3-5 May)
Kenya Fernandes, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney
Associations between capsule production, cell size, and clinical outcome in Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptooccus gattii clinical isolates
K. Fernandes, A. Brockway, L. Campbell, J. Perfect & D.A. Carter
Kenya completed a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) with First Class Honours in 2015 at the University of Sydney and is currently excited to be continuing on as a PhD student in Dee Carter’s lab supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. Kenya’s conference presentation explored the relationship between virulence and the range of capsule and cell sizes in C. neoformans and C. gattii, two pathogenic yeast species that cause severe respiratory and cerebral infections. She looked at two sets of strains - a diverse collection of clinical isolates from different C. neoformans and C. gattii genotypes accompanied by detailed clinical data, and a highly genetically similar collection of lineages derived from a single C. neoformans strain H99 with varying levels of virulence.
Kenya showed significant differences in capsule thickness and yeast cell diameter induced across genotypes and strains, as well differing levels of a number of variant phenotypes including giant cells larger than 15 μm in diameter, micro cells smaller than 1 μm in diameter, and shed capsule. She found that while larger yeast cell size was associated with clinical death in the clinical isolates, larger capsule size was associated with virulence in the H99 derived lineages. Combinations of morphological variants were seen across strains at various frequencies with giant cells being significantly associated with C. gattii and micro cells with C. neoformans. Kenya’s results indicate that there is a complex relationship between capsule size, cell size, variant phenotypes, and adaptation to the host environment with different properties likely being beneficial at different stages of infection and contributing to the overall virulence phenotype of strains.
2015 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Canberra, 14-15 July)
Tracey V Steinrucken, University of Western Sydney / CSIRO Health and Biosecurity Flagship, Dutton Park
Endophytic pathogens, water stress and dieback in an invasive tree
TV Steinrucken, JR Powell, RD van Klinken, A Bissett, AKH Raghavendra
Tracey studied her Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science at Deakin University in Melbourne where she became interested in invasive species management and molecular biology. She then moved to Sweden for her Masters in Science at Lund University where she majored in Plant Ecology, returning to Australia in 2011 for the research portion of her Masters with the Department of Primary Industries and RMIT University. Her thesis explored host resistance between the invasive plant Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) and the rust fungus Melampsora hypericorum. After graduating, she was successful in getting into the DPI Graduate program, but she decided instead to start her PhD with the CSIRO Health and Biosecurity Flagship.
Tracey moved to Brisbane in 2013 to be based at the Ecoscience Precinct with the CSIRO, while being enrolled at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at the University of Western Sydney with Dr. Jeff Powell. Her PhD research, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, investigates the cause of dieback in the invasive tree Parkinsonia aculeata (parkinsonia). Parkinsonia is a thicket-forming thorny tree introduced to Australia from South America. It now covers over 3 million ha of northern Australia, impacting on biodiversity, pasture availability, cattle management and water access. Tracey recently published her work on the interaction between dieback occurrence and potentially pathogenic and beneficial endophyte communities.
Her presentation at the 2015 Australasian Mycological Society Meeting detailed a glasshouse pathogenicity and water stress trial where she tested 8 potential fungal pathogens, with the aim of causing systemic infection in the presence of water stress. The largest lesions produced were caused by inoculations with Botryosphaeria dothidea, Pestalotiopsis mangiferae and Lasiodiplodia pseudotheobromae. Although the results showed a significant correlation between water stress, plant health and plant growth, even extreme levels of stress were unable to result in a systemic infection by the tested pathogens. These results have implications for the inoculation of plants in biological control programs.
Currently, Tracey is on a Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship at the University of California Berkeley where she will be comparing endophyte communities in the native parkinsonia populations with those in the invasive Australian parkinsonia populations. She will return to Australia in May 2016 to complete her PhD and looks forward to presenting her results at next year’s AMS meeting.
2015 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Canberra, 14-15 July)
Cecilia Li, Fungal Pathogenesis Group, Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research
Role of the inositol polyphosphate kinase Ipk1 in the pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans
C. Li, S. Lev, A. Saiardi, D. Desmarini, T. Sorrell, J. Djordjevic
Cecilia is currently a PhD student in Dr Julianne Djordjevic’s laboratory at the Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research. She is co-supervised by Dr Sophie Lev and Professor Tania Sorrell. She is supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award. She previously completed a Bachelor of Medical Science (with First Class Honours) in 2012 at the University of Sydney.
Cecilia is interested in understanding mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis, using Cryptococcus neoformans as a model. C. neoformans is a fungal pathogen that predominately affects immunocompromised individuals, causing serious lung and brain infections.
As part of her research project, Cecilia has identified and characterised an enzyme, called Ipk1, in C. neoformans. Using gene deletion analysis she showed that the enzyme is essential for the ability of C. neoformans to cause disease in an animal model, and that it contributes to antifungal drug tolerance. In collaboration with Dr Adolfo Saiardi (University College London) she determined that the enzyme functions to convert an inositol polyphosphate (IP) called IP5 (which has 5 phosphates on an inositol ring) to IP6. Thus, Ipk1 represents an important enzyme in the IP biosynthetic pathway. Without the functional IPK1 gene in the deletion mutant, IP5 cannot be converted to IP6, and IP6 cannot be used to make PP-IP5 (or IP7), a molecule which the lab published to be crucial for fungal pathogenicity (Lev et al., 2015, mBio). These results indicate the possibility of directing inhibitors at Ipk1 and using them in combination with existing antifungal agents to treat fungal infections more safely and effectively. Studies into the molecular mechanisms whereby Ipk1 regulates yeast cellular function are ongoing.
Outside of the lab, Cecilia enjoys bushwalking, pilates, watching movies and travelling.
2014 (Prize for best poster; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, 22-23 April)
Andrew J. Kettle, University of Queensland / CSIRO Plant Industry, St. Lucia.
Degradation of the phytoalexin benzoxazolinones is important for virulence in pathogenic Fusarium infecting wheat
Andrew is currently researching degradation of plant derived chemical defences and virulence in fungal pathogens of cereals for his PhD at the University of Queensland / CSIRO Plant Industry, St. Lucia. He works with the important Australian cereal pathogen, Fusarium pseudograminearum, that causes crown rot and head blight disease in cereals. The approach involves removing target genes via transformational knock-out in the fungal pathogen and conducting plant infection assays with these fungal mutants. Andrew is a current recipient of a University of Queensland Research scholarship and two additional funds from Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) PhD scholarship and Queensland Government Smart Futures PhD scholarship. His doctoral research will be concluded in 2015. He is excited to be working with a relatively small fungal genome that can be easily manipulated.
Before studying as a mature age student at UQ / CSIRO Andrew was a student at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Bachelor of Applied Science – Biochemistry / Biotechnology. He completed an Honours research project in “micro-RNAs expression in Human keratinocytes” supported by funding from the 2011 Wound Management Innovation CRC Honours Science Student Scholarship and 2011 QUT/ Qld. Gov Honours Agi-Science Student Scholarship. At the conclusion of Andrew’s graduate studies he was awarded the 2010 Agilent Technology Award and 2010 QUT Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence (Biochemistry).
Andrew originates his fascination for fungal genetics from an undergraduate rust fungus sex cycle lecture by Prof. Graham Kelly at QUT. As a full-time mature age student he has juggled tertiary studies whilst raising two children. Yet this predicament has motivated and encouraged him to establish a new career which contrasts strongly to his previous pursuits in management and creative industries.
Andrew’s conference poster displayed results for a F. pseudograminearum mutant lacking a single gene, Fdb2, that has lost the ability to degrade an important plant-derived defence chemical, benzoxazolinone (BOA). The loss of BOA degradation has subsequently impacted on the virulence of F. pseudograminearum on wheat and rye that produce BOA but not barley that does not produce BOA.
2014 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, 21-24 April)
Sue Thompson, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Toowoomba, Qld.
When dead is alive - a complex of Diaporthe species identified from broad-acre crop and weed residues.
SM Thompson, SN Neate, YP Tan, RG Shivas, EAB Aitken
After growing up on a property between Roma and Injune in western Qld and boarding at St Margarets CEGS in Brisbane for her highschool years, Sue was awarded her B App Sci from the Qld Agricultural College Gatton (now UQ Gatton) in 1978. She gained agricultural experience over a range of cropping systems in the following ten years including time in Katherine NT and a number of years based out of Emerald in CQ as a consultant agronomist and agrichemical researcher in her own business.
Life got in the way of her career for eight years while Sue raised her three children as a single parent. As the children moved into primary school she started work as a casual with Bernie Franzman in DPI Toowoomba's Entomology unit looking at ovipositioning of sorghum midge in sorghum seeds. A part-time Technical Officer position became available in Plant Pathology in 1992 and Sue moved to sunflower rust, Phytophthora of soybeans and white rot of onions. Eventually she worked her way up to full time Technical Officer specifically working on sunflower rust pathotyping and pyramiding rust resistance into sunflower hybrids.
Since 2008, Sue has been the only GRDC funded sunflower pathologist in Australia. She enrolled in a part-time MPhil (UQ) in 2011 investigating the species responsible for a damaging outbreak of Phomopsis stem canker in sunflower. Early results were highly significant in that they confirmed that Phomopsis helianthi (exotic) was not the causal species and that, in Australia, a number of previously undescribed species caused damaging lesions on sunflower. Until this time, all damaging cankers on sunflower were considered to be Phomopsis helianthi. Internationally, researchers are now also investigating the species responsible for cankers on sunflower in Europe and the US. More than ten species have now been associated with sunflower in Australia in this study. To date, using a three pronged approach of pathogenicity testing, molecular analysis and traditional morphology, Sue and her colleagues have identified and described twelve new Phomopsis/Diaporthe species from a range of crop and weed hosts.
Sue upgraded to a PhD in 2013. While considering the question 'where did these Phomopsis species come from?' she began investigating alternative hosts. Her findings regarding the role of both dead and live weeds (not only crop stubble) in aiding the survival of a range of Phomopsis/Diaporthe species were the subject of her presentation at the 2014 AMS meeting.
Each of the twelve new species already described in this study, (one paper published and one paper under review), honours an Australian or international researcher, grower, agronomist or seed company representative who have made significant contributions to the sunflower industry. At least ten other Phomopsis/Diaporthe species have been identified and are yet to be described which highlights how little we know of our Australian fungal biodiversity in the broadacre farming systems - and no doubt this would also be true of all our other ancient ecosystems.
In 2013, Sue was presented the Australian Summer Grains Conference Award for Significant Contributions to the Sunflower Industry.
2013 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Adelaide, 12-12 July)
Christine Dwyer, School of Molecular Bioscience, University of Sydney.
Virulence-related phenotypic traits of Cryptococcus gattii genotypes.
C. Dwyer, L. Campbell, D. Carter
Christine commenced a Bachelor of Medical Science (Microbiology, Immunology) at Sydney University in 2010. She was first introduced to research during an advanced 3rd year project when she worked with Cryptococcus in Dee Carter's lab. She enjoyed it so much she decided to stay on for her honours year. Christine's project involves investigating major virulence related-phenotypes in Cryptococcus gattii.
Cryptococcus gattii is a yeast pathogen capable of causing pulmonary and cerebral infection. Epidemiological studies indicate it has a complex genetic structure with four major molecular genotypes globally, designated VGI, VGII, VGIII and VGIV. Christine is investigating how these vary with respect to certain virulence properties. Her conference presentation primarily focused on the polysaccharide capsule, which is the major virulence factor of C. gattii. Mutants without a capsule are avirulent, and capsule size increases dramatically during infection. Christine showed capsule size induced in vitro differed significantly between the C. gattii genotypes. Interestingly VGII, considered a more virulent genotype as it has been found to cause outbreaks, had a significantly smaller induced capsule than VGI and VGIV. The largest capsule was seen in the VGI genotype. This was contrary to expectations and, suggests capsule may reduce infectivity and/ or virulence. In addition a large proportion of VGIII isolates showed an elongated, irregular morphological phenotype, similar to phenotypes associated with cell wall defects. Christine also investigated temperature tolerance, finding VGII to be the most thermal tolerant, VGI second, VGIII third and VGIV the least thermal tolerant. She will complete her honours project by investigating the extent of capsule shedding by C. gattii, and by examining the cytokine profiles of macrophages infected with the different C. gattii. Her findings will improve our knowledge of how virulence factors influence the pathogenicity of Cryptococcus.
2012 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Cairns, 26-28 September)
Mel Greenfield, University of Queensland
Biocontrol Potential of Endophytic Beauveria bassiana against Weevil Borers in Cavendish Bananas.
Greenfield, M.J., I. Newton, N. Dillon, D. Astridge and S.E. Abell-Davis. 2012.
Melinda grew up in a small town called Oakville on the outskirts of Sydney and attended Windsor High School, leaving when 16 years old to work as a legal secretary. After a number of years working in the legal world Melinda decided to finish her schooling at TAFE by completing a Tertiary Preparation Certificate. In 2006, Melinda moved to Cairns to study at James Cook University where in 2010 she completed a Bachelor of Science with honours. Over the next two years she worked for “Eliminate Dengue”, a research project investigating the biological control of the dengue virus in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Melinda recently commenced PhD studies through the University of Queensland that aim to investigate Banana Bunch pests and options for their biological control.
The results of Melinda’s honours project were the subject of her presentation at the 2012 AMS conference. This project aimed to establish if Beauveria bassiana growing endophytically in bananas has potential as a biological control agent of banana weevil borer (Cosmopolites sordidus). Four locally collected isolates of B. bassiana were used to inoculate tissue-cultured Cavendish banana plants. Beauveria bassiana was successfully reisolated from various plant parts for up to nine weeks after inoculation. Colonisation was greatest in the corm compared to the root, pseudostem and leaf and over time, colonisation decreased in all plant parts. Overall colonisation differed between the isolates tested. This is the first time B. bassiana has been artificially introduced into the Cavendish subgroup of bananas and the first time it has been reisolated from banana leaves. Bioassays performed on C. sordidus established that levels of virulence exist between these isolates. Two isolates of B. bassiana have been identified for further research and development as a potential biological control agent of C. sordidus.
2012 (Prize for best talk; Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Cairns, 26-28 September)
Shilpa Patel, Center for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Westmead Hospital, University of Sydney.
Isolation and Identification of Scedosporium spp. in Cystic Fibrosis Patients.
S. Patel, W. Meyer, TC Sorrell, C. Halliday , K. McKay, D. Andresen , P. Middleton, P. Cooper & SC-A Chen
Shilpa completed an MBBS and MD (microbiology) in India then worked for several years in the field of diagnostic microbiology. She then came to the University of Sydney in 2010 and undertook the M. Med. (Infection and Immunity) before commencing her PhD in March 2011. Her research project is investigating filamentous fungal infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. She is especially interested in the clinical risk factors, impact of fungal infection on lung function and significance of pathogen–pathogen interactions in CF patients. Part of her study involves comparing conventional and molecular methods for diagnosis of fungal infections. Shilpa intends to pursue a medical degree in infectious disease after completing her PhD and hopes to combine her research with diagnostic and clinical practice.
Shilpa’s conference presentation reported on the isolation and identification of Scedosporium spp. in cystic fibrosis patients. Respiratory samples from 177 children and 81 adults with CF were cultured. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of the ITS1/2 region was used to identify Scedosporium species. Scedosporium colonization was evident in 11.1% adults and 11.8% children by culture, 4.9% adults and 6.2% children were colonized with S. prolificans whilst Pseudallescheria boydii complex (Scedosporium teleomorph) were recovered in 7.4% adults and 6.2% children. Based on the ITS-RFLP analysis of 54 isolates, 35.1% were S. aurantiacum, 20.3% were P. boydii/S. apiospermum and 44.4%, S. prolificans. DRBC was necessary for the isolation of this fungus and ITS-RFLP accurately identified Scedosporium species and distinguished S. aurantiacum from other species of the P. boydii complex.
AUSTRALASIAN MYCOLOGICAL SOCIETY POSTER PRIZE
(Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Brisbane, Australia, 4-5 July)
Hellem Carneiro, Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Minas Gerais, Brazil and School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.
The Agrochemical Benomyl Decreases the Susceptibility of Cryptococcus gattii to Fluconazole
HSC Carneiro, DA Santos & DA Carter
Hellem is a PhD student in Microbiology in the Mycology Lab, supervised by Daniel Assis Santos at the Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Minas Gerais, Brazil. She performed an international partnership at the University of Sydney for one year (2017/2018) to complete her research PhD project supervised by Dee Carter and supported by Brazilian funding Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico – CNPq and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Capes. Previously, she completed Biological Science degree in 2012 at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil and Master’s degree in Microbiology in 2014 at Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Her PhD research is focused on understanding of how the agrochemical benomyl affects the morpho-physiology, virulence and cross-resistance profile of Cryptococcus gattii to clinical and environmental antifungal agents in in vitro and murine models.
Hellem’s poster presentation showed how cross resistance between the agrochemical benomyl and the clinical antifungal fluconazole had developed after the exposure of C. gattii to the agrochemical. The increased susceptibility was determined by microdilution, and cross-resistance and stress tolerance were tested by spot testing (ST). Following exposure to increasing concentrations of benomyl, the benomyl MIC increased from 8 to >64 µg/ml, and the fluconazole MIC increased from 16 to >16 µg/ml. Compared to the parental strain that was cultivated in benomyl-free conditions, the benomyl-adapted strain showed elevated tolerance to fluconazole on ST plates. In addition, the benomyl-adapted strain showed an increase in growth rate in the presence and absence of both drugs. This study demonstrates that exposure of C. gattii to benomyl can alter its growth profile and susceptibility to antifungals.
2016 (Awarded at the AMS Scientific Meeting, Queenstown, NZ, 3-5 May)
Hyun Lee, School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
Phylogenetic diversity of Polyporus sensu lato (Polyporales, Basidiomycota) in Korea
H. Lee, C.M. Kim, Y.W. Lim
Hyun Lee is currently completing postgraduate studies in basidiomycete taxonomy at Seoul National University in South Korea. His award-winning poster focussed on the phylogenetic diversity of Korean Polyporus species - fungi that cause white rot of wood. Herbarium specimens of Polyporus were re-evaluated morphologically and using a multi-gene molecular approach. Thirteen species within five genera were discovered using these analyses. This included two new species for Korea and four potential new species.
DANIEL McALPINE MEDAL
The Daniel McAlpine Medal is sponsored by the International Mycological Association (IMA) and is awarded to an outstanding young mycologist from the Australasian region. The award is intended for a mycologist in the early stages of his or her career (within 10 years of receiving their PhD). Individuals must be nominated for the Daniel McAlpine Medal by an IMA member. Please send all nominations by e-mail to the AMS president.
Dr Jonathan Plett
Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment
Western Sydney University, NSW
Jonathan was awarded the McAlpine Medal at IMC11 due to his promotion of mycology through the innovation of his research program, the national and international impact of his publications, and due to his service to the discipline through his commitment to sustained communication with a broad audience.
Jonathan has spent much of his research career listening in on the ‘conversations’ that pass between symbiotic fungi and their plant hosts. He has leveraged multi-omic and functional studies into the biology of mycorrhizal fungi to better our understanding of the mechanistic pathways used to foster symbiosis with plant roots – interactions that are ubiquitous in both natural and managed ecosystems world-wide. In a continuing effort to expand our knowledge of Australasian fungal biology, Jonathan has partnered extensively with the Joint Genomes Institute on several fungal genetics projects. These include broader genomic studies of mycorrhizal fungi and studies on the evolution of sequestrate fungi through to more pointed studies of pathogenic and ectomycorrhizal fungi.
Jonathan is also a passionate advocate of communicating the study of mycology to both the scientific community and to the greater public. Jonathan is a nationally and internationally invited seminar and conference speaker and he has written numerous reviews and book chapters on fungal biology. Further, he shares his love of mycology with the general public through outreach programs aimed at school-aged children, communication with the media and through involvement in popular science talks and science festivals.
Jonathan is passionate about working in the field, communicating science and growing fungi
In the field in far north Queensland
Dr Sandra E. Abell-Davis
College of Marine & Environmental Sciences, Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Studies, James Cookk University, Queensland
Sandra was awarded the IMC10 Daniel McAlpine Medal for service to the mycological community and in recognition for her research contribution to mycological science.
Sandra held the position of councillor in the AMS from 2008 to 2010 and has been the AMS treasurer since 2011. She has hosted and organised two conferences including the Mycoblitz 2009 (a five day fungal foray in the Australian wet tropics), and the AMS 2012 annual conference. Sandra also engages with the community giving regular mycological workshops as well as public talks.
Sandra completed her PhD thesis in 2008 on how the distribution of hypogeous fungi determines the habitat restriction of an endangered fungus-eating marsupial Bettongia tropica. Since then she has been employed as a Lecturer at James Cook University teaching plant sciences and ecology, while establishing a research group with a special focus on tropical mycological ecology.
Current funded projects include: The significance of mammal dispersal for ectomycorrhizal fungi relating to the ecology of B. tropica, and The diversity of Cordyceps s.l. insect pathogenic fungi, endophytic fungi, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and ant-plant associated fungi in the wet tropics of Australia.
Receiving the award at IMC10 in Bankok
Dr Ceri Pearce, Senior Plant Health Scientist, Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.
Dr Ceri Pearce was selected by the Australasian IMA Regional Mycological Organization for nomination for the IMC9 Daniel McAlpine Medal based on her research and her major contributions to the mycological community. Her PhD research, which centred on the biology and taxonomy of Australian fungi, resulted in authorship of a book on the Phyllachoraceae of Australia. More recently, with her research now focusing on the increasingly important area of biosecurity, she has been involved in the development of diagnostic and emergency response systems for exotic and introduced pests in Australia.
Ceri made major contributions to the mycologicsl community through her roles on mycology councils, which includes executive councillor and librarian of the Australasian Mycological Society from 1998-2002, executive councilor for Australasian Plant Pathology Society from 2005–2007, and co-chair of the Regional Councillor Working Group of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society from 2005–2008. In addition, she won the bid and successfully co-organised the 8th International Mycological Congress in Cairns in 2006, which was the first time that this congress was held in the Southern Hemisphere.
Ceri has also been involved in numerous mycological education and training programs, both within her organization and to agricultural industries, peers and school students.