I find myself this week in a strange and wonderful foreign land-- our mighty neighbor to the north: Canada. I am at the semi-(bi-?) annual North American edition of the yeast genetics and molecular biology meeting (the event that, two years ago, provided some wonderfully bloggable moments: click here or here or here and certainly here for some oldies but goodies).
Each day is packed with 20-30 speakers, and the evenings are filled with giant poster sessions (think: science fair for grown-ups) where the nations leading (and following) yeast research scientists gather to share ideas, debate hot button issues in yeast genetics and biochemistry (like this one), and conspire to collaborate on what they hope will be the next yeast-world-shaking fungal breakthrough. The scientists also get together at the much-anticipated conference-ending dance (which occurs tomorrow night). It is a week-long love-affair between man and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a veritable cornucopia of yeastiality.
A highlight of my experience so far was being one of the first 20 participants to complete a yeast-themed crossword puzzle to win a baseball cap with the superhero budding yeast SuperBud, the microbial caped crusader. An eight letter word for "yeast food?" beginning beginning with V, ending with E? * A five-letter word for "Yeast cell form named after a comic strip character", second letter C? ** Here's a clever one: A ten-letter word for "GO:0005813"? *** My utmost thanks to the fine folks at the Saccharomyces Genome Database for the lovely hat. Without reservation, I recommend their site for all your yeast genetic informational needs.
Stay tuned for additional yeast meeting updates.