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ISSY 35 Confirmed Speakers

ISSY 35: "Yeast Cornucopia: Yeast for health and wellbeing"


Charles A. Abbas, Ph.D., USA
Founder and CTO IBiocat Inc

Charles received a B.S. in Microbiology from the U of Minnesota, an M.S. in Microbiology from the U. of Montana and completed a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Cell Science at the U. of Florida (Gainesville). He
has over 30 years of experience in industrial biotechnology first working at Difco R & D in Ann Arbor, MI as a senior scientist, and as a group leader, manager and until recently the Director of Yeast and Renewables Research at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in Decatur, IL. Since retiring from ADM, Charles established a start up, IBiocat Inc, at the U of Illinois Research Park at Enterprise Works Incubator facility. IBiocat Inc focuses on the development, validaton, optimization and scale up of advanced biorefinery solutions in industrial biotechnology.
Dr. Abbas is the author of over 100 abstracts, scientific articles, book
chapters, review articles, patents and patent applications. In April of 2016, Charles was awarded the Charles D. Scott for his contributions to the use of biotechnology for the production of fuels and chemicals. In June 2016, he was also awarded the BBI FEW Award of Excellence for his contributions to fuel ethanol. the Dr. Abbas is considered a leading expert in yeast, large-scale industrial fermentations, and biorefining. Charles is credited for proposing the widely used biorefinery term in early 1990s to illustrate the bioprocessing of commodity crops to high value added products. His areas of expertise include: industrial biotechnology; fungal chemistry and biochemistry; biomass conversion; advanced biofuels and chemicals; bioprocessing of commodity crops and their residues to produce high value-added products; development of yeast strains for industrial fermentations; large-scale fermentation production of ethanol, polymers, amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, carotenoids and organic acids using bacterial, fungal, and algal systems.

Opening Plenary Speaker Prof. Charles Abbas

"My Journey With Yeast: Exploiting Yeast Diversity for Industrial  Applications".

Prof. Pietro Buzzini, Italy

Full Professor of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Microbiology, University of Perugia, Italy. Scientific Coordinator of the Microbiology Division, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, Italy
Director of the Industrial Yeasts Collection DBVPG (, affiliated to the European Culture Collection Organization and to the World Federation of Culture Collections.
Director of the Inter-University Research Center on Environment and Pollution “CIRIAF” (, Universities of Perugia, Roma Tre, Florence, Pisa, L'Aquila, Rome "La Sapienza" and Polytechnic of Bari, Italy.
Delegate of the Chancellor of the University of Perugia (Italy) for the topic “green chemistry”.
Expertise: study of diversity, ecology, physiology of environmental yeasts, with special emphasis for cold-adapted (psychrophilic and psychrotolerant) yeasts in worldwide polar and non-polar cold habitats; study of biotechnological exploitation of cold adapted yeasts.
PI of some research projects on diversity, ecology, physiology and biotechnological significance of environmental yeasts granted by EU and Italian Institutions.
Co-author of over 220 abstracts, scientific papers, book chapters and reviews, and 1 EU patent. Co-editor of the books “Cold-Adapted Yeasts. Biodiversity, Adaptation Strategies and Biotechnological Significance", Springer, 2014; “Yeasts in Natural Ecosystems: Ecology”, Springer, 2017; “Yeasts in Natural Ecosystems: Diversity”, Springer, 2017.
The yeast species Hyphopichia buzzinii was named in his honor in recognition of his contribution to yeast research.
Associate Editor of Annals of Microbiology, Springer, since 2015.
Commissioner for Italy in the International Commission on Yeasts ( since 2009.
Chair of the 32nd International Specialized Symposium on Yeasts (ISSY32), Perugia, Italy, 13-17 September 2015. Member of Scientific Committees/Advisory Boards session chair and invited keynote speaker in International Congresses.
He is also consultant for some “biotech” Companies.


Prof. Patrick Fickers, Belgium

Patrick Fickers has completed a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Liège (Belgium) and Institut National Agronomic (Paris-France). After a postdoc at Polytech’Lille (France), he joined in 2005 the Centre of Protein Engineering (Liège, Belgium) as a FNRS fellow. Form 2009 until 2014, he was an Associated Professor at Université libre de Bruxelles and the head of the Biotechnology and Bioprocess Unit. Since 2015, he is a Professor at Gembloux Agro BioTech, University of Liège, in the Microbial Processes and Interaction (TERRA Teaching and Research Centre). His researches focus on the development of yeast cell factories (Y. lipolytica and P. pastoris) by metabolic engineering/synthetic biology and on process development in bioreactor for the production of value added chemicals. 

Prof. Diethard Mattanovich, Austria

Dr. Mattanovich is Professor of Microbial Cell Design at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria. His research interests focus on systems biology and metabolic engineering for the development of production processes for biochemicals and recombinant proteins, with a strong emphasis on yeast cell factories. Dr. Mattanovich holds a PhD in Biotechnology. He is Vice President of the European Federation of Biotechnology and serves as an Associate Editor of Microbial Cell Factories and Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering.


Prof. Markus Ralser, UK

Markus Ralser (Einstein Professor of Biochemistry), is a Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute (London), and since recently, Head of Division & Professor of Biochemistry, at the Charité, the Medical faculty in Berlin. Born in Italy, Markus studied Genetics and Molecular Biology in Salzburg (Austria), and completed a PhD studying Neurodegenerative disorders at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (Germany).

After being trained in mass spectrometry at VU Amsterdam (The Netherlands), he started a Junior group at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, before his lab moved to the University of Cambridge (to which Markus was affiliated until he accepted his Professorship in 2018). The Ralser lab is known for several fundamental discoveries, that have improved our understanding on how cells can coordinate hundreds of biochemical reactions assembled in the metabolic network. In particular, results obtained in the Ralser lab have provided key insights on how central carbon metabolism emerged in early life forms (driving the structure of modern metabolism), how reactions can co-occur within a cell despite competing for chemistry, and how yeast and cancer cells reconfigure metabolism rapidly to be protected against oxidative stress.

Recently, the Ralser lab has become known for the completion of a genome-scale functional-metabolomic analysis in a eukaryote, in which metabolomes were determined for 5,000 yeast strains that represent the non-essential yeast genome. This work has shown the scale of metabolic regulation necessary in the eukaryotic cell, that involves at least 1/3rd of the genome. The Ralser lab is/has been the recipient of prestigious grants by The Crick, the Wellcome Trust, the MRC, the ERC, EMBO, the BMBF, the Max Planck Society and the BBSRC. Markus Ralser has received several awards, in particular, the Wellcome-Beit prize, the BioMedCentral Research Award, the Colworth Medal of the Biochemical Society, as well as the Sterling Medal of the Endocrinology Society. 

Prof. Andriy Sibirny, Ukraine/Poland

Prof. Andriy Sibirny is interested in the mechanisms of yeast autophagy, including that of specific autophagic degradation of peroxisome (pexophagy). Several new genes have been described including ATG26, ATG28, ATG35, TRS1, GSS1 etc. on the model yeast organisms Komagataella phaffii (Pichia pastoris), Yarrowia lipolytica, Ogataea polymorpha and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Additionally, Andriy studies the mechanisms of autophagic degradation of soluble cytosolic proteins.

In the field of yeast biotechnology, Andriy and colleagues have constructed:

strains of S. cerevisiae with an elevated production of first generation ethanol and an anaerobic overproducer of glycerol; strains of thermotolerant methylotrophic yeast O. polymorpha capable of active production of ethanol from pentose sugar xylose and by-product glycerol; overproducers of glycerol synthesis in O. polymorpha
overproducers; of riboflavin and flavin nucleotides in the flavinogenic yeast Candida famata; isolated strains of O. polymorpha and Escherichia coli that are able to produce recombinant proteins as hepatitis surface antigen, glucose oxidase, amylolytic and xylanolytic enzymes and anticancer protein arginine deaminase


Prof. Hiroshi Takagi, Japan

His background is involved in Applied Molecular Microbiology that covers basic studies in microbial science and practical applications in
biotechnology. To understand in depth microbial cells, we clarify and
improve various functions and mechanisms of microorganisms. His best scenario is that novel findings and results of fundamental research can be applied to the construction of useful microorganisms (yeasts, bacteria), the production of valuable biomaterials (amino acids, enzymes) and the development of promising technologies to solve environmental and medical issues (bioethanol, neurodegenerative diseases).

Prof. Lene Jespersen, Denmark

Lene Jespersen (LJ) is professor in Microbial Ecology and Food Fermentation at the Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen (KU). LJ is educated at The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (MSc, Food Science 1989) and Industrial PhD Fellow (1994) based on collaboration between Alfred Jørgensen Laboratory Ltd., The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, and The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences. In her PhD, focus was on flow cytometric analysis for determination of single cell variability of brewing yeasts. In 1996 LJ joint KU and was in 2008 appointed as professor. Her research focuses on indigenous food products, food security, biotechnology, food microbiology, fermentation, microbial biodiversity as well as interactions within the human GI tract. Within these areas her main interests are within yeast taxonomy, yeast physiology and functionality as well as yeast interactions. LJ has headed several international, EU and national research projects as well as several research projects with the private sector. She has additionally worked with capacity building in developing countries for more than 25 years, primarily in Africa where her focus has been on up-grading the West African food sector focusing on food security and safety as well as education and private sector involvement. She has supervised more than 30 PhD students. Her dissemination output accounts >120 scientific publications and book chapters, >70 proceedings and >30 oral presentations at international and national scientific conferences. 


Dr. Anne Gschaedler, Mexico

Dr. Anne Gschaedler is currently a senior researcher and director of the Zapopan Unit of the Jalisco State Technology and Design Research and Assistance Center (CIATEJ), located in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico. She has a PhD in Biotechnology and Food Industry (INPL, Nancy, France, 1994) and her research focuses on artisan fermentation processes (tequila, mezcal, cocoa), physiological studies of non-Saccharomyces yeasts and optimization of the process of fermentation. Inter-Institutional Postgraduate Professor in Science and Technology (PICYT) teaches molecular biology and biotechnology. Responsible for the training of several students (7 doctorate and 12 science teachers) and several research projects as well as in collaboration with the industry. She has 37 publications internationally and belongs to the National System of Researchers, level II.


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The aim of ISSY Symposiums is to bring together academic and postdoctoral researchers, industry scientists and graduate students working in the field of yeast biodiversity and biotechnology to discuss the latest developments in fundamental yeast research linked to biotechnological applications.


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