Benjamin Held

Ben Held in the mountains
Researcher 7 - Blanchette Lab
495 Borlaug Hall

1991 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States


Fungi are fascinating and incredibly important organisms that are often overlooked and understudied. They have crucial roles in decomposition, symbioses, plant, and human diseases and provide us with many useful products and applications. I study fungi at the intersections of wood decomposition, forest diseases, and extreme environments. Many areas of wood decomposition that I have focused on have had a historical or archaeological context; such as the historic huts of Ross Island and Hektor whaling station at Deception Island in Antarctica, Peary’s Huts on Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic, ancient shipwrecks along the coast of Turkey, the Midas tomb (Tumulus MM) in Turkey and artifacts from ancient Egypt. Many of these areas are also extreme environments where many common or temperate fungi are excluded. I’m interested in how these species are adapted to and function in these environments and their phylogenetic relationships. I’m also working on the genomic and transcriptomic analysis of decay fungi to broaden our understanding of the function and better understand the ecology of different decay types.