09:15-10:00 / Keynote Lecture — KEVIN VERSTREPEN

Kevin Verstrepen

STUDYING THE YEASTS OF YESTERDAY TO GENERATE THE YEASTS OF TOMORROW

The common brewer’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is used in a broad range of industrial applications, from the production of beer, wine and bread to biofuels and pharmaceuticals.  Interestingly, there are hundreds of different industrial yeast strains, but their origins and specific characteristics are largely unknown.  We combined large-scale phenotyping with genome sequencing to track the genealogy and evolution of today’s industrial yeasts.  Using this knowledge allowed us to set up large-scale breeding programs to generate superior variants that increase production efficiency and expand the range of yeast-derived products and aroma’s, allowing more efficient beer fermentation, production of superior beers and the creation of novel products.