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Bridging Science and Innovation with Nature's Wisdom

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TED: Ideas Worth Spreading
Host Defense is built on Paul Stamets' visionary research into the power and potential of mushrooms, especially mushroom mycelium, the root-like structures found growing below ground. The power of Host Defense comes from the discovery that the mycelium is the immune system of the mushroom.


Just as mycelium helps to support the immune system of humans, it also supports the health and immunity of the natural habitats where it grows. Mushroom mycelium is a cellular bridge connecting bees, trees, bears, plants and humans to the ecosystems in which they live. Our work is to build a healthier world with the power of mushrooms.

Our Global Mission

COLLABORATE
with doctors to help support immunity and health.
PROTECT
the natural environment and all its inhabitants.
PIONEER
strategies to save the honey bee using mushrooms and fungi.
EDUCATE
communities about growing mushrooms for food.
DEVELOP
filtration methods to clean water using mushroom mycelium.
AID
agriculture and forest health by building soil with beneficial fungi.
INVEST
in integrated mushroom technologies to break down or neutralize toxic wastes.
REPLACE
toxic pesticides with natural, non-toxic, non-invasive mushroom-based solutions.
ENCOURAGE
research to develop new biofuels using fungi.
About The Founders
Host Defense emerged from the fusion of skill sets from two experts: Paul Stamets and C. Dusty Yao.
Paul Stamets with Reishi Mushrooms
Paul Stamets
Paul Stamets, D.Sc (Hon.), is the founder of Fungi Perfecti and Host Defense Mushrooms, and has been a dedicated mycologist for over forty years.

He has written six books and pioneered countless techniques in the field of edible and functional food mushroom cultivation. Two of his books, Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator have been heralded as the ‘bibles’ of the mushroom industry. His latest book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, has propelled his vision of using mushrooms to help save ecosystems and improve population health to the world stage.

Paul has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the science of health-promoting mushrooms and ecology, including:
  • the highly acclaimed National Award from the North American Mycological Association (namyco.org) award for expanding the field of mycology for both amateurs and professionals. (Jan 2014)
  • recognition as an “Invention Ambassador” by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the largest and most prestigious scientific organization in the world. This honor was in recognition of bridging scientific discovery, education and applications for societal benefit. (June 2014)
  • the Gordon & Tina Wasson Award from the Mycological Society of America, for expanding the field of mycology more so than any mycologist in history (July 2015)

Paul’s influence has now flowed into popular sci-fi culture with his appointment as a Starfleet Science Officer, Astromycologist Lt. Stamets (played by actor Anthony Rapp), in the new Star Trek: Discovery series.

Stamets occupies his days writing, teaching and researching. He is engaged in diverse projects with universities and non-profit groups centered on finding fungal solutions to global problems.

As Paul states, "the path to the future is the path of the mycelium.”


Paul Stamets and C. Dusty Yao
C. Dusty Yao
Paul's expertise in mushrooms perfectly matched C. Dusty Yao's experience in preparing herbal extracts. Their shared passion for exploring the natural world, from thousands of hours of hiking through the old growth forest, and their combined ideas created the wellspring that gave birth to the Host Defense product lines that continue today.