Mycology and Aerobiology

Head of division: 

Limiting the negative health effects related to fungi, fungal spores and pollen

We study moulds and yeasts of biomedical interest, such as strains that are pathogenic for humans or animals, as well as fungi in our environment that cause allergies or produce toxins. We develop rapid and effective identification methods to detect these problematic fungi and to improve the diagnosis and surveillance of the related diseases.

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Within the framework of our aerobiology programme, we have a network of five stations spread across the national territory for monitoring pollen and fungal spores. Every day, we measure the levels of allergenic pollen1 and fungal spores present in the air. We publish this information on our website,www.airallergy.be, so that doctors and patients suffering from allergies can take the most appropriate preventive and curative measures.

We maintain and develop a collection of fungi and yeasts of biomedical interest. This collection (known as BCCM/IHEM) is part of the Belgian Co-ordinated Collection of Micro-organisms (BCCM). We are an international reference point for, inter alia, the identification of fungal strains and the development of diagnostic methods.

We rely on scientific research to better understand the mechanisms of resistance of certain fungi to anti-fungal medicines. We also identify this resistance in relation to strains from patients in order to be able to offer them the most suitable treatment. Finally, when there is an epidemic of ringworm of the scalp 2 in children, our expertise is used to identify the source of the infection and so contain the epidemic as quickly as possible.

1Between 01/01 and 30/09 only

2 Ringworm of the scalp is a fungal infection, also called tinea capitis 

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We have long experience in environmental microbiology and mycological analyses.

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