Mycologist Jorinde Nuytinck has been appointed guest professor at Ghent University.
“As a kid, I was already interested in plants and animals. My interest in that other kingdom of biology, the fungi, only came when I was studying biology in Ghent. They sometimes appear to us as mushrooms, moulds or even wood-rot, but invisibly they are nearly everywhere. They provide food and medicines to us, but they cause diseases to animals and plants. Fungi live on surfaces and in the soil, in water, in the air, inside plants and all kinds of organisms, even on deep ocean floors and inside solid rock. Their interaction with other organisms, dead or alive, and with inorganic matter plays an essential role in creating the world we inhabit.’
The point that prof. dr. Jorinde Nuytinck is getting at, is that the fungi kindom is underappreciated. The “prof.” bit is new: she’s been appointed guest professor this month at Ghent University, where the love for fungi began. In practice, she will work there for one day per week, and the other four at Naturalis.
At both places, she works on evolution and taxonomy of the so-called basidiomycetes, a large group within the fungi kingdom that includes most mushrooms. In short: ”Why are there so many different species? How did they evolve and disperse?
With Nuytinck’s appointment, Naturalis now has 14 professors at universities all over the Netherlands. And Belgium, of course: Nuytinck works in Ghent, and Naturalis’ scientific director prof dr. Erik Smets still supervises PhD students at KU Leuven as an emeritus professor.