What might we uncover in an unknown biosphere?

Fungal Kingdom: Threats & Opportunities


The Fungal Kingdom is remarkable in the breadth and depth of its impact on life on Earth. Its six million species produce everything from edible mushrooms to infectious disease, and have major impacts on human health, the food supply, and the environment.

The harm that fungi can do is startling, causing epidemics in staple crops that feed billions and producing toxins that contaminate food supplies and cause cancer. At the same time, fungi are tremendously beneficial. They are at the root of antibiotics, such as penicillin, as well as immunosuppressive drugs that inhibit transplant rejection and drugs that reduce the risk of heart disease. They are crucial to the production of food. And fungi play an important role in the health of plants.

The complexity of the Fungal Kingdom demands a multidisciplinary approach. This CIFAR team includes diverse experts to understand the unique facets of fungal biology and develop new strategies to mitigate the threats posed by fungi and harness their extraordinary potential.

Founded in: 2019

CIFAR Director:
Kate Geddie

Fellows & Advisors

Program Directors

Leah Cowen
Program Director

Leah Cowen is Professor and Chair of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto.

Profile Outline
Joseph Heitman
Program Director

Joseph Heitman is a member of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University.