NAMA Memorial Fellowship 2019
Mara DeMers is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the department of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of Minnesota, advised by Dr. Georgiana May. She received her BS in Plant Biology and Microbiology in 2014, also from the University of Minnesota, after spending many delightful hours working to care for the Bell Museum's fungal collection. Her research interests include population genetics and species delimitation.
Currently, Mara is investigating the diversity of communities of endophytic fungi in purple prairie-clover across Minnesota, particularly the variation present in populations of Alternaria within those communities. She would be happy to show off the blisters she has earned over several hundred rounds of DNA extraction performed this year.
New: Medicinal Fungi Articles
Shennong chewing a branch (1503). The short horns on his head are a consequence of his acquiring a feature of immortal tortoises. Painting by Guo Xu (1456-1529).
Dianna Smith has written three excellent articles on medicinal fungi. In the first, "Medicinal Fungi: Hype & Hope", Dianna explores the history of this topic, lists useful resources, and discusses the deep personal background she brings to the table. Her second article, "Scientific Research and Medicinal Fungi", dives into human uses of fungi as medicines such as antibiotics and statins, as well as the current state of clinical studies of specific fungi. The most recent article discusses the aura and mythology of Ganoderma ling-zhi and its connection to immortality elixirs.
All three articles (with a final one coming soon) can be found in McIlvainea, NAMA's online journal.
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Lichens are amazing organisms. They are all around us and we hardly notice them. Found on soil, tree bark, rocks and even some under water, they are actually two organisms living together (symbiosis). The major component is a fungus (mycobiont), hence they are classified as fungi — the vast majority being ascomycetes. Lichens are fungi that have taken up farming, and they are known as lichenized fungi. There are four major growth forms — crustose, foliose, fruticose and squamulose.
To see the page on Lichens written by Dorothy Smullen, follow this link...