A giant leap for fungus kind? Maryland researchers hope so

03/12/2024| Daniel Leaderman

A giant leap for fungus kind? Maryland researchers hope so

03/12/2024 | Daniel Leaderman

The Maryland Department of Commerce is joining Johns Hopkins University to study the groundbreaking field of astromycology, or the study of earth-derived fungi in space.

A $2.5 million endowment, raised by private funding and an approved matching grant from the state, will help the institution fund a new research professorship at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The endowment was made through the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund (MEIF), a state program created to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at colleges and universities.

Fungi could prove both beneficial and harmful in space, with potential applications that include fighting infectious disease, sustainable food production, and efficient energy production; however, fungi have already shown their ability to colonize a spacecraft, threatening vital equipment as well as the health of astronauts.

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