Our lab primarily uses the single-celled fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a research organism. S. cerevisiae is often called brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast, or the model eukaryote. It is often also simply referred to as yeast (though technically any single-celled fungus is also a yeast).
Yeast has had, and continues to have, a huge impact on human civilization in a variety of ways:
1 – Food and beverage industry: Yeast can be food (vegemite, marmite, beef/chicken bouillon), contribute to making food (bread), and contribute to making beverages (wine, beer, hard cider, sake, whiskey).
2 – Biotechnology industry: Yeast is used to produce compounds that are medically useful (insulin, vaccines), yeast is often added to vaccine preparations to make them more effective, and yeast is used to produce compounds in other industrial settings (fragrances, biofuels).
3 – Research: Yeast is used as a research organism to try and understand fundamental principles of eukaryotic biology. It is useful in this capacity because of the large, friendly community of yeast researchers all around the world who have built many tools and accumulated a lot of knowledge to share. Importantly, the biology of yeast is very similar to the biology of a human cell, so much of what we learn in yeast applies to humans. It is for these reasons that yeast research continues to be recognized by scientific awards like the Lasker Award or Nobel Prize.
Our lab loves yeast, and we want to share that passion with you. Below are links to various yeast articles, resources, and even some yeast art.
–You can find articles about yeast that end up in the popular press here.
–Because this fungus can be an inspirational muse, you can find some yeast art here.
–If you want to learn more about yeast, we have some educational items here.
Finally, if you have any questions about yeast (or any science questions, in general), please contact us and we will do our best to either answer your question or help you find the answer.