What do beer and biofuels have in common? How can yeast blow up a balloon? What is a biorefinery? CHASSY researchers from University College Cork put together a fantastic display of science in the second installment of the ‘Beer, Bread and Biotech’ exhibition as part of Cork Discovers on the 28th September. They were joined by colleagues from the YEASTDOC and Newtrients projects. Over 150 people attended the exhibition and science demos on the evening and learned about the potential for biotechnology to tackle some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. For more photos, visit the Yeast Research UCC Facebook page.
CHASSY partners @ Bioflavours 2018
The Bioflavour conference gathered academic and industry scientists from around the world to discuss cutting-edge bioflavour research. The theme of the conference was the biotechnology of flavours, fragrances and functional ingredients. CHASSY coordinator, John Morrissey, gave a lecture on the genomics of flavour pathways in Kluyveromyces marxianus. Biopetrolia’s Florian David was also there, so it was a great chance for these two to catch up and discuss synthetic biology approaches to flavour production.
A number of CHASSY researchers attended Metabolic Engineering 12 in Munich; Jens Nielsen delivered a keynote lecture on systems biology and multi omics insights, Verena Siewers chaired a session on synthetic biology and genome editing, and Iván Domenzain del Castillo presented his research poster entitled The use of enzymatically constrained GEMs and proteomics data for metabolic engineering targets prediction. His poster presented the work that he has done in Chalmers in collaboration with our colleagues at INRA’s Micalis Institute.
In the past month, Prof Jack Pronk, CHASSY PI based at TU Delft, has been awarded with two major prizes. The first was the International Metabolic Engineering award, which is given every second year and recognises outstanding contribution to the field of metabolic engineering. The second is the Zilveren Zandlopers (Silver hourglass), which recognises his contribution to biotechnology and to education in the Netherlands. Read more here.
The development of sustainable fuels from renewable sources is a key strategy in combatting environmental degradation and economic instability related to dwindling fossil resources. However, new fuels need to be compatible with existing engine designs and distribution infrastructures. 1-octanol is a potential substitute for both diesel and jet fuels. It has already been produced by fermentation of sugars in bacteria, and Eckhard Boles and colleagues at Goethe University Frankfurt have now engineered a yeast that can produce this valuable biofuel. While 1-octanol continues to be potentially toxic to yeast, further work may facilitate sustainable production of this compound at commercially viable levels in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Brewer’s yeast). Read the full paper here.
CHASSY at the International Bio-based Materials Conference, 2018
CHASSY coordinator, John Morrissey and Biopetrolia CEO, Anastasia Krivoruchko both spoke at the 11th BMC in Cologne in a session entitled ‘Yeast as biobased platform for specialty chemicals’, which was chaired by Prof. Haralabos Zorbas from the IBB Network. Dr Morrissey introduced the history of yeast in biotechnology up to its use in bioethanol, a relatively low-value product. Read More...
CHASSY PI Professor Jack Pronk of TU Delft has received the 2018 International Metabolic Engineering Award for his outstanding contribution to the field of metabolic engineering. The International Metabolic Engineering Society (IMES) presents the award every two years. Professor Pronk is particularly recognised for his important contribution to improving and extending the processes for production of fuel ethanol in yeast. The award, and a lecture by Pronk, will be presented at the Metabolic Engineering conference, June 24-28 in Munich, Germany. To hear Jack speak about his quest to produce truly sustainable biofuels, watch this short video.
CHASSY researcher from UCC, Darren Fenton presented his study on translational response to stresses in industrial yeasts using ribosome profiling at the European Federation of Biotechnology Microbial Stress conference in Kinsale, Ireland. Ribosome profiling studies the locations of the protein synthesizing machinery (or ribosomes) for each gene in a yeast cell. This provides insights into translational stresses in industrial yeast and eventually help design more robust chassis yeasts. To learn more, click here to see Darren’s poster.
The recording for the CHASSY webinar ‘Engineering Yeast for Biotechnology – new prospects for industry’ is now available. Click here to watch it.
Prof. Eckhard Boles gave a talk in March on his group’s work on yeast as an industrial organism at the Technical University, Darmstadt. This talk was part of the CompuGene Seminar Series. The goal of CompuGene is to develop computer-aided processes to enable the design of complex genetic circuits in biological systems, with a highly interdisciplinary approach.
What do modern biotechnology and especially gene editing via CRISPR/Cas9 and similar technologies mean for the bio-based economy? What do these new concepts mean in terms of technology, politics and public perception?
These are some of the questions that this Nova Session answered. On 6th March 2018, CHASSY coordinator Dr John Morrissey presented a talk entitled ‘Technological Advances and Potential Applications for Genome Editing Yeasts for Industrial Biotechnology‘. This was a unique opportunity to learn from, meet, and establish collaborations with some of the leading minds using genetics for industrial biotechnology and the biobased economy. To stay informed of future Nova Sessions, follow Nova on Twitter, or sign up to their Biobased newsletter.