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Ken Kassenbrock

Ken Kassenbrock, MD,PhD has been an avid hunter of wild mushrooms since the late 1970s. Trained as a physician-scientist, he has worked in Cell and Molecular Biology, including post-doctoral work with the brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Although his interests in fungi were initially largely culinary, over the years they mushroomed (what else?) to include other aspects of the biology of this fascinating kingdom including ecology, toxicology, biotechnology and cultivation.  Avocation and vocation eventually converged, and Ken currently teaches Mycology (mushrooms, molds, mildews and more) at Colorado State University, where he is on the faculty in the Biology Department.

Ken’s Presentations:

Mushroom Hunting 101: The basics – intended for newcomers to mushroom hunting. How can wild mushrooms be safely identified? What are the key features to look for? How do you get started hunting for gourmet wild mushrooms when the consequences of mistaken identity can be very high? Basics such as spore color, gill attachment, and non-gilled mushrooms will be discussed.

Mushrooms and Human Health – In this talk I’ll review basic nutritional information about wild and cultivated mushrooms, and the concept of mushrooms as “functional foods” – foods that have increased health effects beyond basic nutrition. The concept of “medicinal mushrooms” will also be discussed.