The fungi of Tiziano Benocci

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PhD student Tiziano Benocci fell in love with biology. It brought him to Utrecht, where he does research at CBS-KNAW, a top Institute in fungal research.

Who are you and what do you do?
“I am Tiziano Benocci, PhD student at CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. I am part of the Fungal Physiology group from Prof. Ronald de Vries.

PhD student Tiziano Benocci fell in love with biology. It brought him to Utrecht, where he does research at CBS-KNAW, a top Institute in fungal research.

Who are you and what do you do?
“I am Tiziano Benocci, PhD student at CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. I am part of the Fungal Physiology group from Prof. Ronald de Vries.

“I am originally from Livorno, Italy. At the age of 7, I begged my mom to buy a microscope for me and I fell in love with biology. Later on, thanks to Professor Giovanni Vannacci from University of Pisa, I could develop my passion for applied mycology. Two years ago, I moved to Utrecht to study fungal biodiversity related to plant biomass degradation at the molecular level.”

Where is this workplace?
“My lab is located in Utrecht Science Park (De Uithof). This location hosts several Research Centers, such as Utrecht University and the Hubrecht Institute, creating a very stimulating and interconnected working area. We are also very fortunate to have the Utrecht University botanic garden of Fort Hoofddijk with its rock garden and tropical greenhouse. In spring and summer the green areas are used to organize social events, resulting in a very pleasant environment to meet new colleagues from different fields.”

What is special about this workplace or about your research?
“The CBS-KNAW has the largest collection in the world of living fungi, and is a top Institute in fungal research. The aim of my research is to explore the different strategies used by fungi to degrade efficiently the plant biomass into sugar monomers.

“These monomers are the ‘bricks’ used in industry to build chemicals and produce biofuels to replace fossil-resources. I am very proud to be part of this change required from our society and planet toward a sustainable biobased economy and I believe fungi have an incredible useful potential for our society, yet to be discovered.”

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