Molecular Mycology

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Date(s) - Sunday, February 3, 2019
12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Biotech without Borders

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Most people’s experience with fungi usually ends at the morphology of mushrooms, an imperative skill for discerning choice edibles from poisonous lookalikes.

But have you ever wanted to go deeper, down to the molecular scale? To comprehend the biochemistry that allow fungi to perform amazing feats such as digesting materials both organic and mineral, producing of some of the most potent antibiotic & antiviral compounds found in nature, and evidencing cellular intelligence by transmission of information about their environment via their multinucleate structure?

Then you should make every effort to make it out to Biotech Without Borders on Sunday, February the 3rd for this course on Molecular Mycology.

This course is an elementary introduction to the molecular biology of fungi, where you will learn the  underlying theory via lectures, each followed by a hands-on practical laboratory component:

The first presentation will review concepts of molecules, the central dogma of biology (DNA, RNA, genes, and proteins), cellular architecture, chemical signaling, and will also highlight groundbreaking research in the field of fungal molecular biology. This will be followed by a demonstration a common chemical reaction assay used in mushroom ID that uses several reagents (Ammonium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Iron Sulfate) which react with fungal tissues of different species in distinct ways.

The second presentation review how the applications of phylogenetic ID can offer an improved understanding of evolutionary lineage and overview the process of extraction, isolation, amplification, and verification of DNA from mushrooms; all steps that are required for sequencing to occur. We will then head into the lab to demonstrate the aforementioned workflow of fungal DNA barcoding using the micropipettes, thermocyclers, and gel electrophoresis to generate an amplicon.

We will conclude with a demonstration of bioinformatics to illustrate how we can put DNA sequences to use by searching online databases for ones that are highly comparable and downloading these matches to build phylogenetic trees. This final component will delve into details about the ongoing collaboration between NYC.MYC and MushroomLife on the analysis and understanding of the world’s most popular Cordyceps militaris strain “Cordyzilla.”

Attendees will leave with a mycocentric understanding of the basic theories underpinning molecular biology.

This workshop will be led by Mandie Quark and Craig M. Trester:


Mandie holds her Bachelor’s in Chemistry and a Master of Science in Biochemistry from the University of the Sciences. Mandie spent her career studying molecular biology in academia as a drug discovery research scientist, with an intense interest in mycology. She now works writing grants to fund after school educational programs for underprivileged kids and continues her role as the Manager at MushroomLife LLC. She also enjoys explaining the mysteries and complexities of science to the general public. Interact online by joining her Facebook group Chemistry for Mycologists, or check out her fungi photography on Instagram @mushroom_madman


Craig M. Trester is a citizen scientist that applies biomimicry and permaculture principles through mycology to develop regenerative solutions. By studying Fungi, he believes novel approaches towards alternative agriculture, pharmacology, and bioremediation can be realized. Craig runs MYC, an applied mycology educational resource that teaches the benefits Fungi provide to our health, environment, and society to academic, research, community, and private audiences.