Fungi represent a diverse group of organisms that are important to society and the ecosystem.  From a basic research perspective, fungi have been exploited to gain insight into more complex biological processes including the molecular basis of human disease. Fungi provide nourishment, are a rich source of numerous antibiotics and other valuable products, and are used extensively in industrial fermentation processes. Fungi also cause devastating diseases, particularly of plants, and continue to be responsible for enormous human suffering. It is noteworthy that a significant number of plant pathogenic fungi also cause serious human and animal disease, for which there are very few effective therapeutic agents. Further, many fungi elaborate toxins that make food sources unsafe to eat. It is widely recognized that fungal pathogens represent a major threat to global food security and are considered potent biological weapons. Many of these fungi also have major impacts on medicine and the environment.  The Center for Integrated Fungal Research (CIFR) was conceived to address the research challenges facing society.

 Seven Grand Challenges facing Society

  1. We must enhance the sustainability, competitiveness, and profitability of U.S. food and agricultural systems.
  1. We must adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change on food, feed, fiber, and fuel systems in the United States.
  1. We must support energy security and the development of the bioeconomy from renewable natural resources in the United States.
  1. We must play a global leadership role to ensure a safe, secure, and abundant food supply for the United States and the world.
  1. We must improve human health, nutrition, and wellness of the U.S. population.
  1. We must heighten environmental stewardship through the development of sustainable management practices.
  1. We must strengthen individual, family, and community development and resilience.