Vice President Chu Hoang Ha and Institute of Biotechnology research team visit Westerdijk Institute and garner strong interest to collaborate

As part of the working program in the Netherlands from February 12-18, 2023, Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) led a delegation from VAST to visit the Westerdijk Institute (WI), a research institute specializing in the study of fungal biodiversity.

Welcoming the delegation was Prof. Pedro Crous, director of WI, who gave a introduction on its mission and rich history dating back to 1904. The institute was originally established to collect, maintain and distribute fungal cultures for scientific research and industrial applications. Over the years, the scope of the institute has expanded to include research on fungal taxonomy, phylogeny, evolution, ecology, and biotechnology. Today, it is is a globally recognized leader in fungal research and conservation, with a collection of over 100,000 living fungal cultures, making it one of the largest in the world.

Prof. Chu Hoang Ha expressed gratitude to WI and acknowledged the scientific contributions of WI in fungal research, for example the services related to the collection of fungal cultures. He added that fungi were everywhere, with diverse active ingredients that could be beneficial or harmful, making them an important subject of research for applications in biotechnology, medicine, and agriculture. Prof. Ha would like to strengthen cooperation with WI by sending VAST researchers there for training and education. Dr. Nguyen Hoang Duong, Deputy Director of International Cooperation Department, then gave a brief introduction about VAST and its strengths in science and technology. Assoc. Prof. Phi Quyet Tien, vice director of the Institute of Biotechnology (IBT), also introduced IBT history and capabilities, highlighting recent achievements published in quality scientific journals. He also showed how Vietnam had many attractive locations to study various aspects of fungal biodiversity, including the discovery of new fungal species, the characterization of their genetic and biochemical properties, and the exploration of their potential applications.

Prof. Pedro Crous was enthused after hearing from the Vietnam delegation and expressed strong interest in collaborating between Vietnam researchers and his research groups, as well as other groups within WI. The delegation was then shown the well known fungal collection and how it was maintained and serviced. The delegation also talked to various research groups to explore potential topics for future collaboration.

Translated by Dr. Nguyen Hoang Duong, Vice Director of International Co-operation Department, VAST

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