Research & Development

Meet the Fungi Perfecti R&D Team
Fungi Perfecti® – Makers of Host Defense® Mushrooms™ – was founded by Paul Stamets in 1980 with the goal of building a bridge between people and fungi. Since then, Fungi Perfecti has since become synonymous with cutting-edge mycological research and innovative mycological solutions. As founder and Chief Science Officer, Paul sets the direction for all Research & Development efforts; Host Defense products continue to be produced under his supervision.

A strong commitment to research and innovation is one of the fundamental building blocks of both the Fungi Perfecti and Host Defense brands – and is what continues to set us apart in the industry. This is clearly demonstrated by the expertise found on our internal Research & Development team.

Including renowned mycologist Paul Stamets, our full-time in-house R&D staff of nine scientists consists of four Ph.D.s with expertise ranging from mycology, chemistry, and environmental sciences, to cellular and molecular biology. To date, our team has published 77 peer reviewed papers, of which Paul is a co-author or author on 28 of them. Our rigorous, ambitious, and cutting-edge projects cover a broad range of important initiatives, from mycofiltration and mycoremediation, to using beneficial mushrooms to support bee populations and mycelium-based supplements to support human health.*

Everyone on our Research & Development team is committed to seeking out new and innovative ways to utilize the immune-supporting benefits of mushrooms and mushroom mycelium.*

Our continued mission is to explore, study, preserve, and spread knowledge about the use of fungi for helping people and planet.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

— OUR TEAM —

Regan Nally, Ph.D.

Fungi Perfecti Research Team - Regan Nally, Ph.D.

Regan is the Senior Research Scientist at Fungi Perfecti. She has a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with a focus on supramolecular systems from the University of Maryland, College Park.
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Regan first began her tenure with Fungi Perfecti in 2001, after graduating from The Evergreen State College. She left in 2003 to pursue her Ph.D., but returned in 2009 and has been with us ever since!

She brings an important chemistry-centric perspective to the team with particular interest in somatics and pharmacognosy.

In her free time, Regan enjoys playing the piano, dancing, and exploring all things outdoors. She has fond first memories of foraging for chanterelles and preparing them for meals. She tells us the excitement of the hunt was contagious. So, her favorite mushroom species? The chanterelle, of course!

Chase Beathard, Ph.D.

Fungi Perfecti Research Team - Chase Beathard, Ph.D.

Chase is a Research Scientist with a Ph.D. in Botany from Washington State University and a B.S. in Biology from Texas State University with a focus on Plant Physiology. His doctoral research focused on the molecular biology of plants and the regulation of developmental and stress responses.
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Before grad school, Chase spent four years as a plant physiologist working in a high throughput screening environment to facilitate the development of agronomic traits in crops.

At Fungi Perfecti, much of the work Chase does involves molecular assays utilizing various cell models. He is particularly interested in exploring the impact of fungi on the expression of genes and proteins that are beneficial to human health and supporting a healthy immune system.*

In his free time, Chase enjoys being outdoors, spending time on his hobby farm, and taking care of his garden and animals. And his favorite mushroom? Lion’s Mane! Chase says, "I especially enjoy foraging for Lion’s Mane, I like its interesting appearance, and appreciate the incredible neurological benefits it may have.*"

Zolton Bair, Ph.D.

Fungi Perfecti Research Team - Zolton Bair, Ph.D.

Zolton is a Senior Research Scientist at Fungi Perfecti, inspired to pursue a career in mycology by the work of Paul Stamets nearly 15 years ago.
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Zolton has a B.S. from Virginia Tech in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry, and a Ph.D. from Oregon State University in Botany and Plant Pathology. Before joining the team at Fungi Perfecti, Zolton spent more than a decade working in mycology labs, exploring the airborne dispersal of spores with UAVs, mycotoxins in bioethanol byproducts, invasive forest pathogens, and commercial-scale mushroom cultivation.

Since joining the R&D team in 2020, Zolton has focused on optimizing production processes, Agarikon population genetics, and astromycology. In his free time, Zolton enjoys backpacking, gardening, and spending time with family. Something else great about Zolton - he loves mushrooms! His favorites are Morels, Hedgehogs, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, and (of course) Agarikon!

Kyle Meyer, Ph.D.

Fungi Perfecti Research Team - Kyle Meyer

Kyle is a Research Scientist at Fungi Perfecti. He holds a Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; an M.S. in Geological Science from the University of Texas, Austin; and a B.S. in Geology from the University of California, Davis. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Biochemistry at Portland State University. Since joining the R&D team in 2022, Kyle has drawn on his extensive research experience to investigate all aspects of fungal biochemistry.
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When not in the lab, Kyle delights in spending time with his wife, dog, friends, and family. He also is fond of baking, reading, climbing, listening to music, enjoying nature, and — of course — foraging and observing fungi in their natural habitats.

If names were the only criteria, Kyle’s favorite mushroom would be Boletellus ananas—because it’s B. ananas! Kyle’s favorite gourmet mushroom is a tie between Hericium erinaceus, Boletus edulis, and Hypomyces lactifluorum, the “lobster mushroom”. But when it comes to picking a true favorite, Kyle said, “It’s too hard to pick a favorite fungus when we have so many to appreciate…everything from yeasts to the long-gone giant, Prototaxites.

Lizi Doar

Fungi Perfecti Research Team - Lizi Doar

Lizi is a Research Assistant who joined the Fungi Perfecti team in early 2021. She received a B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Davis, and has a voracious multidisciplinary curiosity.
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Lizi previously worked in science communication and education. While at Fungi Perfecti, she has been focusing on the characterization of important biosynthetic genes found in Lion’s Mane, along with the effect Lion’s Mane has on the human immune system.

In her free time, Lizi enjoys reading widely and weirdly, watching plants grow, and experimenting in the kitchen.

The Sulphur Tuft is Lizi’s favorite mushroom because she likes yellow and they always look so cute grouped together in a big bunch.

Jessica Kishiyama, B.A.

Fungi Perfecti Research Team - Jessica Kishiyama

Jessica is a Research Assistant at Fungi Perfecti. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Morningside University, where she focused on Alzheimer’s research. She also has professional experience working in healthcare and lab research settings. Since joining the R&D team in 2022, Jessica has focused on cellular responses ranging from antibody feedback to neuro-regenerative capabilities.
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When not in the lab, Jessica enjoys cooking, baking, and foraging for edible and medicinal plants. Her favorite mushroom species is Reishi, which she appreciates both scientifically for its many neurological benefits, and culinarily. Here’s what Jessica has to say about cooking with Reishi: “I adore the challenge of crafting dishes that incorporate a polarizing and distinct flavor. Some people think of it as a near unpalatable mushroom in the culinary realm and I like to open the possibility that it may not be as unpleasant as previously thought.”*