Event by Novo Nordisk Foundation Science Cluster

    Lecture: Essence of hops and cannabis: Engineering yeast to produce some of the better things in life

    The Copenhagen Bioscience Lectures are a series of open lectures for all researchers and other interested in and around the Copenhagen area. Every 4 weeks, on a Thursday evening, you are invited for lectures on themes with a general interest for the Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers and bioscience researchers in general. Often there will be a cross-disciplinary focus. We are happy to announce Professor Jay Keasling from the NNF Center for Biosustainability /University of Berkeley as speaker with a talk on “Essence of hops and cannabis: engineering yeast to produce some of the better things in life” and Senior Researcher Irina Borodina from the NNF Center for Biosustainability with a talk on “Yeast cell factories for sustainable food production”.

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    05 September 2019


    Jay Keasling University of Berkeley, California
    Irina Borodina Technical University of Denmark

    Jay Keasling: Essence of hops and cannabis: engineering yeast to produce some of the better things in life

    Isoprenoids are one of the most diverse groups of natural products in nature. In plants they range from essential and relatively universal primary metabolites, such as sterols, carotenoids, quinones, and hormones, to more unique and sometimes species-specific secondary metabolites that may serve in roles such as plant defense and communication. Isoprenoids are synthesized from universal precursors and are classified into groups according to the number of carbons they contain; monoterpenes (C10), sesquiterpenes (C15) and diterpenes (C20). Many terpenoids have been found to exhibit potent biological activity, with several of them in development or in use therapeutically. The anti-malarial drug artemisinin and the anti-cancer agent Taxol serve to illustrate the clinical importance of sesquiterpenoids and diterpenoids, respectively. Others have found use as flavors and fragrances, cleaners and disinfectants, and even biofuels. Microbial synthesis of complex isoprenoids takes advantage of natural biosynthetic pathways without the need for long synthetic routes and toxic chemicals. Over the last 20 years, my laboratory has engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Escherichia coli, and assorted other microorganisms to produce isoprenoid natural products. In my talk, I will describe the tools and methods we have developed for engineering microorganisms to produce some important plant isoprenoids and some not-so-natural isoprenoid derivatives, discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead, and discuss our successes in scaling and commercializing a few molecules.


    Irina Borodina: Yeast cell factories for sustainable food production

    As the world population keeps increasing, we are facing the challenge to produce more food and, at the same time, reduce our environmental footprint. Yeasts, our oldest microbial pets, come to rescue. Using the modern genome editing toolbox, the yeasts can be engineered to produce healthy food and feed supplements and biocontrol substances for agriculture. In my talk, I will present several examples of engineering oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica for the production of high-value specialty chemicals for food, feed, and agriculture. Y. lipolytica has been used as single cell protein in animal feed for many years and it has recently been approved for human food as well. It possesses a remarkable ability to accumulate high levels of lipids and is thus highly suitable to produce other compounds that derive from fatty acid metabolism. We have engineered Y. lipolytica to produce red carotenoids for fish and poultry feed, lactone flavours that can be used in food and cosmetics, and insect sex pheromones for environmentally friendly pest control in agriculture. The barriers and perspectives for commercialization of novel yeast-based products will be discussed as well.


    3:45 pm Welcome and registration (coffee/tea, water available)
    4:00 pm Start of the lecture
    5:30 pm Networking with a drink and a snack
    6:30 pm Thank you for a splendid end of day!
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    I would like to know about upcoming Copenhagen Bioscience Lectures – where can I find information?

    You are very welcome to join the ‘Novo Nordisk Foundation Research Centers’ Linkedin group. There you will find information about upcoming lectures, and much more. Also, you may want to sign up for the weekly announcement with events and deadlines, sent out by the group manager.

    What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

    The organiser offers to pay for a taxi on the following conditions: it has to be transport from either Panum/Mærsk Tower or DTU building 220, if you are at least 3 people in a taxi. This is how it works: you arrange yourself for a taxi from Blegdamsvej or from Kemitorvet, find at least 2 other people to take the taxi with, and at arrival at Tuborg Havnevej 19 you ask Novo Nordisk Foundation staff to come and pay for the taxi (they’ll check departure address and number of persons in the taxi), as well as to order your taxi back.

    If you are by car, you can park for free in front or at the side of Tuborg Havnevej 19. If that is full, there is 3 hours free parking in the parking to the Waterfront shopping mall at the end of the road.

    Public transport by train to Hellerup station, and/or bus (1A, 21, 166), nearest by bus stop is Tuborg Boulevard.

    Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

    Contact Sophie Labrosse at sfeb@novo.dk

    How do I cancel my participation?

    Please help us respecting our speakers, as well as keeping track of the numbers and optimize lecture and catering to the audience by cancelling as soon as you know that you exceptionally will not be able to make it. You can either cancel through Conference Manager (there is a link for the Conference Manager site in the email with your order confirmation) or send an email to Sophie Labrosse (sfeb@novo.dk).

    Can I update my registration information?

    Yes, just log in to Conference Manager through your order confirmation recieved by email. Please use this option also in the unlikely event that you need to cancel your registration.

    Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

    No, you do not have to bring your ticket, but registration is mandatory for participation.