CSRI team searches for answers among yeast cells

In Cornell College’s West Science Center, you’ll find Professor Jeff Cardon, Brett Krull ’17, and a lot of yeast cultures.

“Yeast is something like us,” said Professor Cardon. “It might not seem like it, but it is something like us, biologically.”

These two are researching how yeast cells decide how to use resources they get from the environment.

“The idea is that by looking at how yeast cells decide how to allocate resources, we might learn something about how human cells decide how to allocate resources. This is kind of a hot topic in some ways. I mean–not particularly the yeast, but this idea of resource allocation because of diabetes and obesity. How do cells decide how much energy to take up and what to do with that energy and so forth.”

Krull is a one-man band in the lab. He’s taking on the ten-week Cornell Summer Research Institute research project, which involves growing yeast plates overnight, counting them, and figuring out what it all means.

“The big question here is looking at alternative cell signaling pathways. So, trying to figure out–when this main cell signaling pathway is shut off, what can a cell do with different substances to get around this and grow and reproduce. So, I’m looking at two different substances, one is a detergent in very low concentrations and the other is an alternate carbon source.”

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