The 33rd International Specialised Symposium on Yeast (ISSY33) ‘Exploring and Engineering Yeasts for Industrial Application’ organised under the auspices of the International Commission on Yeasts, with support from the Microbiology Society, took place at University College Cork, Cork, Ireland from 26-29 June 2017. The meeting was supported by grants from FEMS, ICY, EMBO and Science Foundation Ireland, as well as by commercial sponsorship. The scientific organising committee was drawn from the EU FP7 funded PhD training project (ITN) YEASTCELL and was chaired by John Morrissey, University College Cork.
ISSY33 attracted 285 delegates (from 37 countries), with their diversity indicating the global reach and relevance of yeast research in society. The 5 inhabited continents were well represented: Europe 219; North America 27; Asia 18; South America 15, Africa 6) and there was strong private sector participation: 46 delegates from 31 different companies. These headline numbers demonstrate both that yeast research is alive and well across the globe, and that this research has fundamental and biotechnological dimensions to it.
The scientific programme ran over 3 full days and comprised a variety of keynote lectures (4), poster sessions (continuous), flash presentations (1) and targeted symposia (7). All the symposia were co-chaired by an experienced member of the scientific board and an early career researcher from the YEASTCELL network. There was also an excellent social programme that started with an opening reception in the University Aula Maxima. This reception launched the special conference ale that was brewed at UCC (“Bitter not Broken”) and also tasting of two beers and a cider that were brewed with new yeasts developed by PhD students from the YEASTCELL project. The famous local stout Murphys was also offered and an excellent historical overview of the Cork heritage of brewing and distilling was presented by local historian Diarmuid Ó’Drisceoil. The Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr John Sheehan and the chair of the ICY, Prof Hiroshi Takagi (Japan) officially opened the conference. The other social highlights were a bespoke concert of traditional Irish music and dance in the Triskel Arts Centre, performed by the Pulses of Tradition group, and the conference banquet at the Ballymaloe Grain Store, East Cork.