Dear Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to Marburg for the 11th European Conference on Fungal Genetics. With this conference ECFG has returned to Germany, where it was held only once before in Münster in 1996. We are proud to host such an exciting meeting that reflects the most recent developments in fungal biology in the areas of genomics, evolution, systems biology and synthetic biology, while witnessing an amazing progress in understanding how fungi live, adapt, develop and interact with different host organisms. I am personally extremely happy that so many of you decided to come and share with us new insights into the intricacies and mechanisms of the unique fungal lifestyle. The local organizing committee has assembled a scientific program with input from the national and the international advisory committee, which we hope will be truly exciting. With two keynote lectures, 18 plenary lectures and 69 oral presentations in parallel sessions we hope to provide a frame for intensive discussions ‐ which you should take as incentive to continue at the more than 400 posters.

Organizing this conference has been a major effort and would not have been possible without Vera Matschiske‐Peters who runs my secretarial office and Christian Bengelsdorff, the head of administration at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology. They were tireless up to the point of sheer collapse when numbers for this congress went up and up and problems steadily increased. I also want to thank the local organizing committee consisting of Michael Bölker, Gunther Doehlemann, Roland Lill, Hans‐Ulrich Mösch, Björn Sandrock, Eva Stukenbrock, Christof Taxis and Alga Zuccaro for all their contributions and help behind the scene. Last, but not least I want to thank the SYNMIKRO office for all their organizational help and the many additional helpers from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology and the Philipps‐Universität. Without their input, ECFG11 would not be what it turned out to be. I also want to thank Celia Lloyd and Ray Gibson from Intelligent Events Ltd Edinburgh who helped us organizing this big event. I also wish to thank all our sponsors, in particular FEMS who supports attendance of 27 young scientists and the DFG who generously funds the plenary speakers. ECFG11 is truly an international meeting: more than two thirds of the participants come from outside Germany and represent scientists from 38 different countries. I am also happy about the many industry participants as our field is rooted both in basic science and application. And I am delighted that about one third of the participants are PhD students. I hope that they will make use of this wonderful opportunity to decide on their future areas of research in academia or industry. Most of them will also participate in the conquest for 6 poster prizes that are sponsored by the VAAM.

I very much hope that ECFG11 will be scientifically exciting and thought‐provoking. At the same time I hope that you will enjoy the charm of the medieval city of Marburg. We will try our best to make your stay comfortable and hope that you will remember Marburg for its excellent science and unique environment.

Kind regards,

Regine Kahmann
Chair of the local organizing committee
Marburg, March 2012