Yeast meeting to showcase latest breakthroughs in genetics and molecular biology

July 25th, 2014
Nearly 600 scientists from 25 countries and 35 states will attend the 2014 Yeast Genetics Meeting organized by the Genetics Society of America (GSA) next week at the University of Washington in Seattle. The conference will feature close to 500 presentations (including 70 talks) of cutting-edge research results on topics including gene expression and regulation, functional genomics, chemical biology and drug discovery, emerging technologies, evolution, aging, and a variety of diseases.

Of special note are renowned scientists whose contributions to the field of genetics will be honored through several awards and named lectures: George Church (Harvard University), Olga Troyanskaya (Princeton University), Jeremy Thorner (University of California, Berkeley), and Anita Hopper (Ohio State University). Awardees will present their innovative research to all conference participants. In addition, the Genetics Society of America will present the 2013 Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education to Malcolm Campbell and the 2014 Edward Novitski Prize to Charlie Boone.

Jon Lorsch, director of NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), will deliver a special presentation on the role of basic biological studies in advancing biomedical research and future efforts planned at NIGMS. In addition, the community will pay special tribute to the late Fred Sherman, a distinguished researcher who helped establish the widespread use of yeast as a genetics model system and who made several groundbreaking contributions to modern genetics.

The baker's yeast (also known as budding yeast) Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an indispensable model organism that has driven our understanding of genetics, molecular biology, and cellular biology. This versatile organism is used in laboratories worldwide, largely because of its amenability to genetic manipulation. Yeast is a single-celled eukaryote, making it one of the simplest systems to study this large domain of life that includes all plants and animals. As a result, research with yeast has yielded revolutionary insights into a variety of important biological principles also found in humans, including how genes exert their function, the effects of genetic variation in a population, molecular and metabolic responses to environmental stimuli, how networks of genes and proteins interact to drive key biological processes, and the molecular basis for multifactorial traits like fitness and disease.

One of the reasons that S. cerevisiae has spurred so many breakthroughs in biological research is its use a workhorse for pioneering new technologies readily adopted across academia and industry. The industrial applications of yeast are numerous, including biotechnology, biofuels, fermentation for wine and beer production, baking, and pharmaceutics. The 2014 Yeast Genetics Meeting will integrate the areas in which yeast has been instrumental as a model system or industrial tool.

Provided by Genetics Society of America

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