Guiliana Furci

IAS Fellow at Ustinov College, October – December 2024


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Giuliana Furci is a field mycologist and the founding director of the Fungi Foundation, the first NGO dedicated to fungal conservation in the world. Her work triggered the inclusion of fungi in Chilean environmental legislation in 2012.

As a field mycologist, she has co-described new species of mushrooms such as Psilocybe stametsii (2023), Amanita galactica (2020) and Cortinarius chlorosplendidus (2019), and has conducted mycological expeditions in close to 20 countries including Australia, Ecuador, Italy, Mexico, Chile and Turkey.

Giuliana is the author of several titles, such as a series of field guides to Chilean fungi. She has co-authored several publications, including the one that delimits the term “funga,” and the 3F Proposal – Fauna, Flora & Funga (2018), as well as the first “State of the World’s Fungi” (Kew, 2018).

Giuliana’s work through the Fungi Foundation has achieved, among others, the creation of a free mycological curriculum in English and Spanish, available for all teachers and educators around the world to integrate fungal education into their classes. She is curator of the FFCL Fungarium, a collection of thousands of fungal specimens which are continuously studied in collaboration with experts from Harvard University, Conicet Argentina, University of Florida, and other institutions.

She is an associate at Harvard University, a National Geographic Explorer, Dame of the Order of the Star of Italy and the deputy chair of the IUCN SSC Fungal Conservation Committee. She has held consulting positions in U.S. philanthropic foundations as well as full-time positions in international and Chilean marine conservation non-profits. She sits on the Board of Fundación Acción Fauna, and on the Advisory Board of the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), and other organizations. Giuliana has received several distinctions, including the 2022 Buffett/National Geographic Leadership in Conservation in Latin America Award, the 2022 Gordon and Tina Wasson Award from the Mycological Society of America, the 2022 Biodiversity Steward Award from the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy, and the 2013 Presidents Award from the International Society for Fungal Conservation. Giuliana’s work has been featured in some of the most widespread international media outlets, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, NPR, Science Magazine, the BBC, The Atlantic, and The Times of India among many others.