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The Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute is the worldwide reference center for fungal identifications, taxonomy and harbors the World’s oldest and most diverse fungal culture collection. Since 1953 medical mycology has played a major role at the Westerdijk Fungal Biodiversity Institute. The focus in that time were the so called 'dermatophytes', a group of fungi, that causes skin and nail infections in a large group of the human population. The scope of attention for medically relevant fungi widened quickly since the 1980s. It became clear that much more fungi are able to cause mild to severe infections both in humans and animals. To date about 1,000 species are recognized as potential pathogens. Some of these pathogens are seldomly seen, but others are more frequently encountered.

The focus of the department of Medical Mycology are the major fungal pathogenic groups: Aspergillus, Candida, Cryptococcus, Pneumocystis, Mucorales and the endemic mycoses caused by Coccidioides, Histoplasma and Paracoccidioides. Our aim is to further unravel the epidemiology and population dynamics of these pathogens, investigate antifungal resistance patterns and improving fungal diagnostics.

Together with our partners, University Medical Center Utrecht, Princess Máxima Center and the Hubrecht Institute, we are within the Taskforce Clinical Mycology Utrecht that aims to improve fungal diagnostics and antifungal treatment.

 foto westerdijk institute