IUBMB Focused Meeting on Extremophilic fungi
19 – 22 September, 2023

Extreme environments are hostile to most life as we know it. Only a small selection of species have adapted to survive and thrive in some of the most extreme conditions on our planet. Research on extremophiles has traditionally been focused on prokaryotes, but this focus has been repeatedly challenged by the discovery of various fungi as part of the extreme microbiome. Despite their much more complex cell structure, fungi approach, and in some cases exceed, the stress tolerance of bacteria and archaea.
The study of fungi from various extreme environments, from arid and hypersaline to cold and acidic, attracts a vibrant and ever-growing scientific community. Although the topic is receiving increasing attention at some of the most prestigious international meetings, a dedicated international conference has been lacking.
The first international conference on extremophilic fungi will bring together world-renowned experts, young scientists, and students who explore the diversity, adaptations, and potential applications of extremophilic fungi, and help usher in the next era of extreme mycology.

01 Schedule

19 September —

9:00 – 9:30

Opening of the Conference

9:30 – 10:15

Key Note Lecture

Amy Gladfelter: Temperature adaptation of biological phase separation enables extremophilic lifestyles

10:15 – 11:00

1. Rock-Inhabiting Fungi
Session chairs: Lucia Muggia, Ramon Alberto Batista-García

10:15 – 10:45

Laura Selbmann: Rock Fungi: wired bodies, stunning potential

10:45 – 11:00

Martin Grube: Lichen partnerships: some notes about the most tolerant co-workers on earth

11:00 – 11:30
Coffee break
11:30 – 13:15

2. Fungi in low water activity environments
Session chairs: Lucia Muggia, Ramon Alberto Batista-García

11:30 – 12:00

Ramon Alberto Batista-García: Cellular responses of Aspergillus sydowii to kosmotropic growth at extreme concentration of NaCl

12:00 – 12:30

Michael Poulsen: Adaptations to life in deserts and with termites in the globally-distributed basidiomycete genus Podaxis

12:30 – 13:00

Samah Mohamed Rizk Soliman: Exploring the Surprising Biodiversity: Extremophilic Black Fungal Species from Archaeological Microhabitats in Desert Ecosystems

13:00 – 13:15

Bonnie K. Baxter: The Fungi of Great Salt Lake (Utah, USA): A survey of brine, minerals, petroleum, microbialites, and invertebrates

13:15 – 14:30
Lunch and poster viewing
14:30 – 16:00

3. Fungi from Polar and Alpine Environments
Session chairs: Laura Selbmann, Steven Hanes

14:30 – 15:00

Teppo Rämä: Intertidal fungi in the Arctic

15:00 – 15:30

Steven Hanes: Phase separation as a mechanism for cold tolerance

15:30 – 15:45

Ciro Sannino: Deep Antarctic Permafrost Core: relationships between the abundance of the yeast genus Glaciozyma and elemental composition

15:45 – 16:00

Lucia Muggia: Diversity of extremophilic fungi in highly heterogeneous lichen mycobiome

16:00 – 16:30
Coffee break
16:30 – 18:00

4. Astrobiology and Fungal Dispersal
Session chairs: Bonnie K. Baxter, Jason E. Stajich

16:30 – 17:00

Kathleen C. Benison: How can fungi in extreme acid lakes and their salts inform us about possible life on Mars?

17:00 – 17:30

Chris Koon Ho Wong: Fungal conidia prepares for the future according to environmental conditions present before dormancy

17:30 – 17:45

Marta Filipa Simões: Mycogenic metal nanoparticles for in situ resource utilization in microgravity environments

17-45 – 18:00

Group Photography

Welcome party

20 September —

9:00 – 10:30

5. Interactions
Session chairs: Vania A. Vicente, Teppo Rämä

9:00 – 9:15

Victoria Keller: Genomes of 14 black fungal lineages isolated from rock-dwelling lichens – a resource for understanding fungal lifestyles and environmental adaptations

9:15 – 9:30

Danaé Bregnard: For better or for worse: co-habitation of the fungus Penicillium citrinum and the yeast Meyerozyma sp. in deep geothermal fluids

9:30 – 10:30

Poster Presentations and Flash Talks – part 1

10:30 – 11:00
Coffee break
11:00 – 13:00

6. Radiation, Acidity and Other Extreme Environments
Session chairs: Elisabet Aranda, Chris Koon Ho Wong

11:00 – 11:15

Michael J. Daly: The Role of Mn Antioxidants in Extremotolerant Fungi

11:15 – 11:30

Cene Gostinčar: On the dispersal of fungi between extreme environments

11:30 – 12:00

Janet Quinn: Antimicrobial warfare: bacterial-mediated fungal killing through the Type VI secretion system

12:00 – 12:15

Jens C. Frisvad: The Fungal production of specialized metabolites and proteins is depending on ecological strategy

12:15 – 12:30

Anna A. Gorbushina: Black fungi on technosphere surfaces: new niches for roof-inhabiting cousins

12:30 – 12:45

Anna Poli: The cultivable mycobiota of two karstic caves in Italy: undiscovered taxa and potential biotech applications

12:45 – 13:00

Lene Lange: Evolution, composition, and biomass degrading capacity of the digestive secretome of 14 halophilic fungi

13:00 – 14:30
Lunch and poster viewing
14:30 – 16:00

6. Radiation, Acidity and Other Extreme Environments (cont.)
Session chairs: Anna A. Gorbushina, Jens C. Frisvad

14:30 – 15:00

Gustavo Goldman: The extreme of the non-extremophiles: Aspergillus fumigatus drug tolerance and persistence

15:00 – 15:30

Igor V. Grigoriev: Comparative genomics of thermophilic fungi

15:30 – 15:45

José Manuel Martínez: Fungal diversity and its geochemical role in the extreme acidic environment of Rio Tinto

15:45 – 16:00

Iris Cornet: Battle of extremophile Rhodotorula kratochvilovae strains for best process metrics in simultaneous detoxification and lipid production from steam explosion hydrolysate

16:00 – 16:30
Coffee break
16:30 – 17:00

16:30 – 16:45

Till Tiso: Exploiting the black yeast Aureobasidium pullulans for polymalic acid production

16:45 – 17:00

Ulrich Terpitz: Green-light sensors in extremophilic fungi

17:00 – 18:00

Poster Presentation Flash Talks – part 2

Optional social gathering

21 September —

Scientific Excursion and Workshop

Departure from the conference location: 8:00


Return to Ljubljana city centre or conference location: around 20:00


Please consider bringing:

– non-slippery walking shoes
– warm clothes (cave temperature approx. 12 °C, small amount of water dripping from the ceiling)
– sun protection
– enough drinking water
– additional food (a lunch box will be provided)


Scientific Excursion to Carstic Caves


Workshop: Excursion and potential Sampling of Hypersaline Environment in Sečovlje Man-Made Solar Salterns

22 September —

9:00 – 11:00

7. Black Fungi
Session chairs: Julia Schumacher, Macit Ilkit

9:00 – 9:20

Sybren de Hoog: Evolution of opportunism in Chaetothyriales

9:20 – 9:40

Macit Ilkit: Cerebral phaeohyphomycosis

9:40 – 10:00

Vania A. Vicente: Omics analysis of Cladophialophora exuberance focusing its potential on bioremediation of hydrocarbon and heavy metal polluted habitats

10:00 – 10:15

Erin C. Carr: Melanin Excretion from the Novel Black Yeast Exophiala viscosa

10:15 – 10:30

Ilaria Catanzaro: Generation of Cryomyces antarcticus mutants to explore the importance of DHN melanin for survival

10:30 – 10:45

Nadine J. Schneckenleitner: Contribution of DHN melanin to survival and growth of Neoarthrinium moseri in extreme environments

10:45 – 11:00

Eileen A. Erdmann: In-vivo mutagenesis of the rock inhabitant Knufia petricola by a customized Ac/Ds transposon system

11:00 – 11:30
Coffee break
11:30 – 13:00

8. Omics and Molecular Tools for Extremophilic Fungi
Session chairs: Igor V. Grigoriev, Claudia Coleine

11:30 – 12:00

Jason E. Stajich: Genomic and Phenotypic variation in Rhodotorula species sampled from Extreme Environments

12:00 – 12:30

Julia Schumacher: Genetic engineering of black fungi: Lessons learned from Knufia petricola

12:30 – 12:45

Lara Vimercati: The genome of the polyextremophilic yeast, Naganishia friedmannii, reveals adaptations involved in stress response pathways, carbohydrate metabolism expansion, and limited DNA repair repertoire

12:45 – 14:30
Lunch and poster viewing
14:30 – 16:00

9. Biotechnology and Bioremediation
Session chairs: Lene Lange, Gustavo Goldman

14:30 – 15:00

Nancy P. Keller: Isocyanides as Tools of Survival: Unveiling Fungal Strategies for Copper Starvation

15:00 – 15:30

Elisabet Aranda: Applications of isolated fungi for bioremediation purposes

15:30 – 15:45

Marianna Dourou: Non-conventional yeast: Investigating their potential for treatment of fish farm effluents and agro-industrial wastewaters

15:45 – 16:15
Coffee break
16:15 – 17:30

Key Note Lecture and Closing of the Conference

Nina Gunde-Cimerman: Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink

Conference Dinner

Join us at IUBMB Focused Meeting on Extremophilic fungi