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This project is funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Framework 7 Programme (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 614562

To celebrate UK Fungus Day, the Lab held an introduction to fungi at Birmingham’s ThinkTank Science museum to raise public awareness of fungal research.  Children designed and created their own plasticine fungi, brave individuals analysed swabs from their scalps for the presence of Malassezia and gamers learnt how to use the powers of fungi (such as mind control) to survive a zombie attack through the ‘Plants vs Zombies’ computer game.  People were amazed that fungi can do this, such as the Cordyceps group of fungi controlling the minds of insects to promote the spread of spores within the insect population.  281 people got actively involved throughout the day.  Thanks to the ThinkTank for hosting us!

                    The team in action!

Prof Robin May providing expert microscopy advice analysing scalp swabs for fungi.

There was a media frenzy when our bird immunity and cryptococcosis paper was published in February 2016.  From the BBC to India Today, newspapers, radio stations and websites all over the world reported on our findings that white blood cells found in birds can destroy fatal fungal infection.

Bird macrophages infected with the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans (green)

UK Fungus Day 2015

Mitofun staff go back to school

8 year old Danny Williams designed ‘Dan the Man’ & took part in our presentation to  explain how infection occurs in the body via the power of Minecraft.  As the blood pours out of his injured hand, the pathogenic fungus enters his bloodstream and it reaches his stomach where the redstone ‘infected cells’ are fought off by the pale blue ‘white blood cells’.  “I really enjoyed creating Dan the Man.  All of my friends love Minecraft and I had fun working out how to get Dan the Man to have an infection.  I really  want to be a scientist when I’m older.”

We took part in Colmore Junior School’s World of Work Day in May 2016 and spoke to over 100 7-10 year olds about the joys of working in Microbiology.  We were very impressed with the range of questions asked about our research.

Press coverage of our bird study paper goes global!