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Best Young Mycologist in Europe accolade for researcher

Dr Alison Bennett (c) James Hutton Institute
"She has not only been successful in her own right as an innovative scientist but also gives a great deal back to her colleagues and supports students in our Postgraduate school through training and mentoring.

A scientist from the James Hutton Institute has been named the best young mycologist in Europe and joined an elite group of only six researchers around the world to be awarded a similar accolade for their continent.

Dr Alison Bennett, a rhizosphere microbiologist in the Ecological Sciences group, has been distinguished with the Elias Magnus Fries Medal for 2014, awarded by the International Mycological Association (IMA) to the best young mycologist in Europe.

Professor John Taylor, IMA president during the nomination and election procedure, said the award is made just once every four years. “Although the association represents more than 30,000 mycologists throughout the world, there are only six such awards bestowed each cycle, one for each continent,” he explained.

On being awarded the Prize, 38-year-old Dr Bennett said: “I have to admit that I was stunned when I won the award. It’s a great honour. Winning the award was only possible through my work with my many collaborators here at the James Hutton Institute as well as around the world. I am lucky to be able to work with such amazing scientists on such fascinating mycological questions.”

Professor Colin Campbell, Director of Science Excellence at the James Hutton Institute, commented: “We are very pleased and proud of Alison’s success in winning this prestigious honour. She has not only been successful in her own right as an innovative scientist but also gives a great deal back to her colleagues and supports students in our Postgraduate school through training and mentoring.”

Dr Bennett studies the plant mutualist arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. This common mutualist can be found in all environments, including agriculture, and promotes plant growth via uptake of important nutrients. AM fungi acted as roots for plants when they first colonised land in the Devonian period, more than 400 million years ago, and have maintained their association with plants through the following millennia. Dr Bennett researches how this important mutualism is maintained and how is it threatened, as well as ways in which these fungi influence the insects that feed on or pollinate plants.

Dr Bennett graduated at the University of Chicago, completed her PhD at Indiana University and held post-doctoral positions at the University of California-Davis, University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining the James Hutton Institute. She has co-authored 21 publications, including two book chapters.

The International Mycological Association, founded in 1971, is a non-profit organisation whose purpose is the encouragement of mycology in all its branches by strengthening integration and collaboration, promoting open access of journals and books, and enhancing the visibility of this science.

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Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/best-young-mycologist-europe-accolade-researcher on 22/07/19 09:27:51 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.