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Mind the Fungi

From the Growth and decay series 2017

Mushrooms are used in biotechnology as cell factories to produce antibiotics, immunosuppressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, antimalarials, insulin, prebiotics, pigments, organic acids, enzymes, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and more. The fungal biotechnology of the 20th century managed to establish itself as an essential platform technology for innumerable branches of industry and thus decisively shapes our daily life and our lifestyle in an invisible way. At the moment, fungal biotechnology is undergoing a disruptive innovation process, which we want to co-design with other departments of TU Berlin as well as with citizen scientists. Mushrooms, which are produced on the basis of renewable plant raw materials in the biotechnological process, are to be converted, with far-reaching consequences, into new materials used for packaging or even building.

Using the interdisciplinary concept From STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) in the project "Mind the Fungi", we will also use the inspiring and catalysing power of art to collaborate with Berlin citizens to develop new ideas and technologies for mushroom-based materials of the future at the TU Berlin. In addition, we use artists in residence programs to use art as a multiplier and communicator of scientific questions, challenges and findings to the public. Building on our expertise in applied and molecular microbiology in the field of fungal biotechnology (Prof. Meyer), bioprocess development (Prof. Neubauer) and science communication (Art Laboratory Berlin), our goal is a new and innovative one: To establish a research field at the Technical University of Berlin, which dares from the start to build a bridge with the growing Citizen Science community to integrate their expertise early on.

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