Conduct research on fungus.

What does a Mycologist do?

Fungus is a fascinating specimen. It has the potential to do a lot of things, ranging from the beneficial—letting dough rise—to the detrimental—killing people. So it’s easy to see why you mycologists are so enamored with it.

As a mycologist, you spend your day studying the characteristics of fungi. By understanding their basic components, you find out whether they can be applied as treatments or used as food. You also identify new species and group them into scientific classes. Then you perform temperature and chemical tests on them, and study their adaptability.

Fungi take thousands of forms. The kinds that most of us are familiar with include molds and mushrooms. Some people see them as a menace that can eliminate an entire crop of corn or cause flesh-eating diseases in humans. Of course, it has its productive uses. For example, it’s the yeast that makes dough rise and beer taste oh so good.

While it’s true that many fungi produce harmful toxins, mycologists like you have also discovered ways to use fungi as remedies for ailments. That’s why pharmaceutical companies hire you to do research for them. In this role you spend a lot of time in the lab, but you also get to stretch your legs when you go on a mushroom hunt.

So, to be successful as a mycologist, you need a passion for the moldy stuff, knowledge of lab techniques, and the ability to perform precise work.