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The Future is Fungal


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Mushrooms, it seems, have some uncanny properties. Fungi are more closely related to humans than plants, and if we can work with our fungal cousins, we might find a way to reduce waste – and perhaps even salvage our planet.

Gavin McIntyre and Brian Pickles are two ‘bio-neers’ whose work is at the forefront of the new mushroom movement. McIntyre is co-founder and chief scientist at the New York-based biofabrication company, Ecovative, where he’s developing fungal mycelium products to replace plastics, wood, leather and even bricks. Pickles is an ecologist at the University of Reading and part of a pioneering research team that is unlocking the secrets of the mysterious symbiotic system known as mycorrhiza. He has found that trees can communicate, thanks to underground mushroom networks, which connect trees at their roots.

At the Wheeler Centre in March, McIntyre and Pickles will discuss the implications of their discoveries and inventions, making the case for a fungal future.

Presented in partnership with WOMADelaide’s Planet Talks Programme.


Brian Pickles

Brian is Scottish, but doesn’t particularly sound like it. He thought he’d grow up to be a fighter pilot or an astrophysicist, but got dengue fever and became an ecologist (not necessarily in that order). His biggest influences have been The Cult, sea turtles, and Kung Fu. He teaches student... Read more

Gavin McIntyre

Gavin McIntyre is the co-founder and Director of Business Development of Ecovative. Ecovative is a biomaterials company that leverages fungal mycelium to create disruptive solutions for our planet’s most pressing problems.  McIntyre is an inventor on most of the company’s patented technologies,... Read more

Vanessa Toholka

Vanessa Toholka is a management consultant, with over fifteen years experience working in digital content and strategy. She cut her teeth in New Media and Digital Services at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, before moving into professional services where she specialises in knowledge manageme... Read more


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176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.