Fungal Workshop

On September 22-23, the Alfred P Sloan Foundation sponsored a workshop at UC Berkeley entitled: Workshop to advance fungi in the built environment. It was the second workshop the Foundation sponsored to strengthen specific areas within their Microbiology of the Built Environment, the first workshop being on Building Science that Brent Stephens wrote about previously.

The workshop offered a chance for Sloan-funded researchers to meet with a larger community of researchers and practitioners to discuss various topics with one common denominator: fungi. The workshop centered around speakers with some time for discussion. The agenda is below, and many speakers have made their slides available for viewing.

[Have people heard there are two new described fungal species out there: Penicillium alfredii and Aspergillus sloanii?!]

Opening remarks:
Meredith Blackwell – Fungi in the built environment: next steps

Fungi and fungal products indoors:
Robert Samson – New insights into the biodiversity and ecology of the indoor mycobiota
Birgitte Andersen – Chaetomium and Stachybotrys indoors and their metabolites
Olaf Adan – On water and indoor fungi

Fungi and health:
Joan Bennett – Bad air and good air revisited
Tiina Reponen – Findings on Fungi and Health in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS)
Karen Dannemiller – Fungi: A link between the built environment and childhood asthma

Fungal analysis:
David Hibbett – Phyloinformatics of Fungi in the built (and other) environment(s)
Henrik Nilsson – NGS and molecular identification of fungi

Sampling fungi:
Mark Golembiewski – Environmental sampling and analysis
Lynn Schriml – Genomic metadata standards pertinent to fungi in the built environment

The workshop was a great opportunity to hear from a variety of researchers from all over the world who study fungi from many different perspectives. Based on the presentations, we identified several key areas in need of development. We’ll flush out these areas in the months ahead.

  • The unrecognized negative and positive health effects of fungi
  • Sampling fungi: including, identifying the nature of the material (fragment, spore), identifying indoor/outdoor derived taxa, knowing and recording key metadata
  • Databases: metabolites, volatiles, taxonomy, and phylogeny
  • Fungal physiological responses to conditions representative of the built environment

4 thoughts on “Fungal Workshop

    1. Hi David-
      Thanks for your interest. There are no proceedings or videos, but the presentations of most of the speakers have been made available on this blog. I’m sure you could reach out to the speakers themselves with follow up questions.

  1. Hi, I’d like to ask if there is a specific ITS pair of primers (e.g. ITS1F-ITS2, ITS1-ITS2, ITS3-ITS4 etc.) that is recommended for identification of airborne fungal species. Illumina gives specific primers for 16S sequencing library preparation but there is no specific protocol for the ITS region and I’m not quite sure If protocols related with other types of environments would be the best option. So I was wondering if you could suggest something that would give a satisfying coverage for fungal bioaerosol samples on a MiSeq platform.

  2. Hi – For the ITS1 region, ITS1F/ITS2 primer pairs have been developed for MiSeq ( and applied to airborne fungal species ( and Some folks also use the ITS2 region (e.g. Environmental Research 140 (2015) 255–267). Hope that helps!

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Rachel Adams

Rachel Adams is a Project Scientist at University of California Berkeley.