I am back from a short trip to Ireland where I gave a seminar at National University of Ireland, Maynooth and spend some time with folks interested in evolution or fungi like David Fitzpatrick, James McInerney, Davide Pisani. I also learned about a new spinoff company from one of the faculty producing media that will help Bee immune systems. In my chats with some of the faculty I found out that I had lots in common with Sean Doyle on Aspergillus and some basidiomycete genomics questions and also much in common with Gary Jones working on prions in yeast. After my trip to Maynooth, I spent a few days in Dublin afterwards to see the town which included a visit with some Dublin yeast researchers Ken Wolfe and Geraldine Butler who took me out to see Newgrange.
I learned that there is an abundance of yeast research in Ireland. In addition to the researchers there is a whole shop devoted to Yeast.
And my visit to the Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate taught me that that Yeast is a national treasure in Ireland.
Complete with an important safe for insuring there are backup strains. I have to assume there is a -80 freezer somewhere in the Guinness complex holding old strains as well.
Did you know one of the master brewers at Guinness was also the inventor of the Student’s T-test? Here’s the proof
So it was great to visit and look forward to going back at least in 2012 when SMBE will be held in Dublin.