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Robert Wood Johnson
just before 8 a.m. in late
July and, like a sous-chef
before the busy dinner rush, three
teaching assistants have prepped the
laboratory tables with the materials
needed for the day's experiments.
Months of groundwork have gone into
this moment, preparing course modules
and transforming an empty lab in Cold
Spring Harbor, New York, to one that
will house the latest in yeast-related
research. It is a brief moment of calm
before the 16 students arrive to begin
what will be an intensive, three-week
exploration of current practices in
yeast genetics and genomics.
To the average person, yeast may be
just the essential ingredient to making
bread rise, or the catalyst for the fer-
menting process of their home brew.
But for this select group of scientists
and researchers, yeast--specifically,
Saccharomyces cerevisiae--holds the
key to research that has implications
for understanding the functions of
human cells and genomes.
For the second year, a member of the
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
faculty has helped lead this seminal
course in yeast genetics and genomics,
which has attracted many of the
world's outstanding yeast geneticists
and molecular biologists, whether as
teachers or students, since the course's
inception in 1970.
A look at the course's honor roll of
past instructors and attendees reveals a
compendium of the "giants of yeast
biology," including 2013 Nobel laure-
ates Randy W. Schekman, PhD, and
James E. Rothman, PhD; award-
winning geneticists; and those who
have had major influences in the fields
of biology and microbiology, says
Marc R. Gartenberg, PhD, professor of
biochemistry and molecular biology
and director, Graduate Program in
Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology,
at the medical school.
"When you see the names associated
with the program, you realize big
things happen there," he says.
By Beth-Ann Kerber
On the Rise:
Facilitating the
Yeast Genetics
by Budding Researchers
arc R. Gartenberg, PhD
(above), professor of
biochemistry and microbiology,
director, Graduate Program in
Cellular and Molecular
Pharmacology, and instructor
of yeast genetics and genomics
a the Cold Spring Harbor
Laboratory, says that students
who are interested in using
yeast for research come from
around the world, with a
range of backgrounds.
The idea for all of them is to
learn the techniques
involved--from the most basic
methods to the latest ones--
and disseminate them to
scientists in their own labs.