Researcher biography

Alistair has studied fungal genetics and evolution for over a decade. His latest research is on toxic, edible and psychoactive mushrooms in Australia.

Alistair has started research on magic mushrooms in Australia. He will test hypotheses that Psilocybe subaeruginosa is endemic and P. cubensis is introduced to Australia. He will determine whether there is variation in the genes that produce psilocybin in native mushrooms, and build a collection of living cultures for future medical research. His research aims are to determine how many species of psychoactive fungi occur in Australia, which ones are native, and whether there is sexual reproduction among populations. A long-term outcome of this research is to establish a living, research collection of psychoactive mushrooms.

Alistair has a background in plant pathology and is interested in anything related to genomics, sexual reproduction, clonal reproduction, population genetics, life cycles and taxonomy of fungi. Alistair completed fellowships on molecular barcoding, phylogenetics and phylogenomics of rust fungi at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Louisiana State University (USA), and the University of Queensland. He is experienced in plant and fungal systematics, plant disease surveys, molecular biology and bioinformatics.