Fungal Catastrophes

22 April 2020 from 19:00 to 21:00 hrs
Trippenhuis KNAW, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam
+31 20 551 0782
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The speakers at this public event will talk about fungal threats and possible solutions.

'We are losing biodiversity on a massive scale due to emerging fungal infections', Professor Matthew Fisher states. He is one of three speakers at this public evening ‘Fungal Catastrophes’ taking place at the opening of a three days international mycological symposium ‘Rise of the Fungi’. The public evening coincides with the 50th International Earth Day focusing on the protection of our environment.

20200422-fungal-catastrophes-Beauveria loeiensis-Biotec-460

Beauveria loeiensis ascomata on leaf-rolling cricket, Gryllacrididae, Orthoptera (Picture: Biotec, Thailand)

The speakers at this public event will talk about fungal threats and possible solutions. Amphibians are under severe threat by fungal diseases, caused by human intervention. Bat white nose syndrome is ‘burning across North America’, and at a global scale also plants, trees and crops die due to fungal infections. The number of fungal infections in humans are rising too, often accompied with the worrisome emergence of antifungal resistance.

The massive death in amphibians is mainly caused by humans dispersing fungi and by fungal resistance against fungicides. An additional factor is the scarcity of effective fungicides that can be safely used and, related to that, the widespread use of antifungals in agriculture and industry. Furthermore, fungi and humans are more related than one would think, which often hinders the development of new antifungal drugs.

Three speakers, three topics: Amphibians, Bananas, and Humans, all threatened by resistant fungi. Come and learn about this battle.


  • Matthew Fisher, Professor of Fungal Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom – Costing the Earth: Catastrophic losses of amphibian biodiversity caused by chytrid fungi
  • Gert Kema, Professor of Phytopathology, Laboratory of Phytopathology, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen – Going bananas: the global fungal attack on bananas
  • Cornelia Lass-Flörl, Professor Hygiene and Microbiology, Division Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Medical University of Innsbrück, Innsbrück, Austria – Unsolved: Public health challenges in fungal infections

Moderators: Ferry Hagen, group leader of Medical Mycology at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute and Teun Boekhout, professor of Fungal Functional Diversity at University of Amsterdam and group leader Yeasts and Basidiomycetes at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.


The symposium will be held under the auspices of the Royal Netherlands of Arts en Sciences and the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute.