Yeast Intelligence


About This Project

Are humans the most "intelligent" species on this planet? Within evolutionary context - likely no, as even a small eukaryote such as yeast has humans beat on various processes that increase viability. Among them is the ability to sexually reproduce when stressed to increase genetic variability, while eliminating the cost of sexual reproduction under favorable conditions, and the ability to induce systematic autophagy.

Autophagy is a system largely triggered by stresses, such as starvation, by which cells maintain homeostasis through recycling materials already present in the cell. Broadening current understanding of autophagic processes and quantifying the significance of autophagy in eukaryotes has been a popular area of research in recent years. A cell without autophagy becomes cluttered as a system, which leads to disease and mutations. Starvation-induced autophagy in particular is of interest to us as in modern society, many, albeit far from all, humans have access to more food than our current lifestyles require. What effect our oversaturated diets may have on our long-term survival is a question that can be studied through yeast a model organism with conserved signaling and metabolic pathways as humans.

*For more information about this project please contact:


Katie O'Connell