Thomasian scientists present research at 2023 Asian Mycological Congress

Academic staff from the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry of the College of Science and the Graduate School attended and presented their research at the Asian Mycological Congress held from October 10 to 13, 2023 at the BEXCO Exhibition Center in Busan, South Korea.

The Asian Mycological Congress (AMC) which is held every two years is the largest gathering of mycologists in Asia. This year’s congress is organized by the Korean Society of Mycology and Chonnam National University. The UST delegation is composed of faculty researchers from the Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences (RCNAS) namely Asst. Prof. Melfei E. Bungihan, Ph.D., Prof. Gina R. Dedeles, Ph.D., and Prof. Thomas Edison E. dela Cruz, Dr. rer. nat. Joining them are two graduate students under the MSC Microbiology program: Katherina Aubrey Resente and Gian Carlo Aldover . The delegation was led by Department of Biological Sciences Chair Dr. Ruel M. Bennett.

Dr. Melfei E. Bungihan, a chemist, delivered her talk titled “Fungal metabolites in drug discovery: Bioactive secondary metabolites from endophytic fungi isolated from plant hosts Pandanus spp. and Rhizophora spp.” She also co-authored a poster on the colonization of microplastics by mangrove and seaweed-associated fungi together with Prof. dela Cruz, biologist and ecological modeler Asst. Prof. Nikki Heherson A. Dagamac, Dr. rer. nat., and MSc Biology graduate student Ms. Joannalyn S. Montemayor. The poster was also chosen as one of the Best Posters during the AMC awarding ceremony.

Thomasian graduate students, Glen Carlo Aldover and Katherina Aubrey Resente, also presented their poster on Philippine mangroves as cradle of novel Phythium species. The poster is co-authored by Thomasian microbiologist, Dr. Bennett, who also gave a talk on the phylogeny of saprotrophic oomycetes under the Concurrent Session 7 – Fungus-like Organisms. Joining him in this session is Prof. dela Cruz who served as the session co-chair.

Dela Cruz, the group lead of the Fungal Biodiversity, Ecogenomics and Systematics-metabolomics (FBeS) at RCNAS also gave a talk titled “Slime Molds and the City: Impact of buildings on myxomycetes”. He also co-presented a poster on the diversity of endolichenic fungi associated with the fruticose lichen Ramalina with Dr. Bungihan, Mr. Ghimel P. Espinosa, and Dr. Sittie Aisha B. Macabago, also an academic staff at the Department of Biological Sciences. This research is funded by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) of the Department of Science and Technology. Dela Cruz has been the Philippine representative to the Asian Mycological Association for more than 15 years now.

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