Scientific career

Studying the genetic diversity of fungi forms the backbone of my scientific career. For several years, I have also expanded my understanding of fungal biology to include the interaction between fungi and associated viruses.

A major achievement of my early work is the transition from a morphology-based to a genetic variability-based understanding of biodiversity at the species and population level. To study lichen fungi and other understudied organisms, I developed new molecular techniques, described new lichen species, reconstructed their evolutionary history, and deciphered the genetic diversity of threatened species.

After my PhD, I focused on studying the biology of invasive fungal pathogens (e.g., Cryphonectria parasitica, Fusarium circinatum), developed new methods for population studies, and also described new tree parasitic species (Cryphonectria carpinicola).

To study the virome of tree pathogens relevant to Switzerland, I have established a collaboration with the virology lab of Prof. Nobuhiro Suzuki at Okayama University (Japan), where I could work in 2020 and 2022 to deepen my biological and technical knowledge of viruses. In addition, I integrated new technical approaches to RNA sequencing in my studies: Nanopore Technologies, PacBio, and Illumina RNA-seq.

New sequencing technologies are uncovering a growing number of mycoviruses that have the potential to reduce the virulence of the phytopathogenic fungus.
Picture: Isogenic strains of Cryphonectria naterciae after 7d growth. Left: with CnFGV1infected strain developed strong inhibited growth. Right: normal growth of a virus-free strain.


Institutional responsibilities

  • 2023
    Scientific expert in the working group «Modul/Notfallplan zum Pechkrebs der Föhre (Fusarium circinatum)» (emergency plan to Pine Pitch Canker), Federal Office for the Environment, FOEN
  • 2022 - present
    Deputy head of the Research Group Phytopathology, WSL Birmensdorf
  • 2019 - present
    Training manager of the apprentices Laborant/in EFZ Biologie, who are trained by lab technicians in different laboratories at WSL
  • 2017 - present
    Seminars at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences on the detection of pests and pathogens from environmental material
  • 2015 - 2019
    MC member in the European COST Action FP1406 "Pine Pitch Canker


  • 2015    SVEB certificate as adult educator. EB Zurich.
  • 2013    PhD of Science in Ecology and Evolution. Faculty of Sciences, University of Bern.
  • 1998    NDS (postgraduate study) in Environmental Science. University of Zurich.
  • 1993    MSc in Botany. Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zurich.