Fungal Catastrophes

23 September 2021 from 19:00 to 21:00 hrs
Physically, online or in hybrid form
+31 20 551 0782
Add event:

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’.

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.

Please note that due to the COVID-19 measures, we will decide in due course whether the symposium will be organised physically, online or in hybrid form. This page will be updated as soon as more information is available.