Section 1: Introduction
Fungi are not just some peculiar kind of plant, but a Kingdom of eukaryotes in their own right. My research interests revolve around their developmental biology, with emphasis on the cell biology, physiology and genetics of mushroom morphogenesis and the genetics of cultivated mushrooms.
Most of my work has been done with the field mushroom known as an Inkcap mushroom, which is now called Coprinopsis cinerea (but was called Coprinus cinereus while I was working with it), but at various times we have also worked with cultivated species like the button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), shiitake (Lentinula edodes), paddy-straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea and V. bombycina), and oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.), among others. Much of the research has been aimed at the experimental study of fungal developmental biology. The final emphasis being on devising methods permitting detailed analysis of the control of cell differentiation and tissue morphogenesis in higher fungi. Techniques pioneered include:
- in vitro organ cultures of mushroom tissues;
- use of computer-aided image analysis and numerical analytical methods to study developmental dynamics;
- extraction of growth factors and hormones;
- derivation of purely mathematical models of morphogenetic processes which are able to predict behaviour beyond the circumstances used for their construction;
- You can learn all about these in the different parts of this website.
Finally, my experimental research became directed towards establishing where morphogenetic pattern-forming signals originate, their nature, translocation routes, targets and pattern-forming response pathways. I am also interested in what happens when differentiated fungal tissues are removed from their growth control factors experimentally (when they regenerate vegetative hyphal tips), the part played by programmed cell death in fungal morphogenesis, and the extracellular matrix which is formed in and around fungal tissues.
Novel approaches for application of 3-D computer graphics to the visualization of hyphal branching patterns and hyphal interactions that occur as fungal tissues differentiate have been developed. The aim is to devise mathematical models of processes which lead to morphogenesis and the full story is told in Section 3, World of Cyberfungi.
Many of these topics are represented on this website, and you will find fascinating graphics, interactive computer models and enlightening information.
Follow the links in the navigation panel alongside for brief introductions to the topics, then visit other parts of this website for more details about the fascinating World of Fungi. Learn certainly, but most of all - enjoy!
Updated December 7, 2016