Seeking answers to the mysteries of life is the beauty of science that makes biology so special to me. To be able to understand how complex life forms such as we know them today were able to arise, it is essential to study the small building blocks from which any living being is made of. These very fundamental foundations of life are what the fields of cellular and molecular biology try to unravel day after day. As a freshly graduated high school student I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a job later, the only thing I was convinced of was my curiosity for science and more precisely my affinity for the study of life. This led me to achieve a bachelor’s degree in biology, followed by a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. During my master’s thesis, I found out that everything I learned wasn’t just about answering fundamental questions of how life came to be, but that biology is a key component for the future of mankind. The unavoidable transition of our consumer society to a more symbiotic relationship with our environment can be achieved with the help of biology. Nature has so many alternatives to offer and it is our responsibility to acquire them.
The topic of my PhD research is centred around the diverse uses of filamentous fungi in nature-friendly alternatives of petrochemical derivatives and other polluting activities. These very often underestimated organisms possess unmatched abilities and were already found useful in a variety of biotechnological applications. Filamentous fungi have evolved to be able to grow on the most complex substrates and are the fastest growing organisms aside from unicellular bacteria.