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Dr. Linda F. Bisson
Ph.D., Microbiology, University of California at Berkeley
Dr. Bisson's main area of research is the investigation of utilization of carbon and energy sources in yeast, with a specific focus on how eukaryotic cells detect energy sources in their environment and prioritize use when presented with a mixture of substrates. She is using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model system in which to conduct these studies, because of the ease of genetic manipulation of this organism. Her research is important from a very fundamental perspective, in adding to our knowledge of the mechanisms of regulation of metabolism, but also has broad application in both enology and medicine. Stuck or incomplete fermentations are a problem in winemaking, caused by the failure of the yeast to consume all of the available sugar. Work conducted in her laboratory has led to the identification of the first eukaryotic glucose sensor, the SNF3 gene, and to the discovery of a large multigene family of hexose transporters, the HXT (HeXose Transporter) genes of Saccharomyces. She has recently developed functional genomic technologies for the analysis of wine strains of Saccharomyces which has lead to the identification of key stress markers. Bisson served as Department Chair from 1990-1995; her term saw the dedication of The Jacob Research Center at the Oakville Experimental Field Station. Her contributions to the advancement of knowledge of yeast biology in the natural grape juice environment were acknowledged by the award of Honorary Research Lecturer for the 50th Annual Meeting of the Society of Enology and Viticulture in 2000. This is the highest award of this scientific society. Bisson hold the Maynard A. Amerine Endowed Chair in Viticulture and Enology; the endowment was created by the Gallo Family Educational trust, as is the first Endowed Chair established at UC Davis. Dr. Bisson regularly teaches classes ranging from VEN 124, Wine Production, and MIC 250, The Biology of Yeast, to VEN 270, a course on reviewing a scientific manuscript for advanced graduate students. Additionally, she is an instructor in the Genetics Graduate Group core course GGG 201A, Transmission Genetics. Dr. Bisson is a member of the advisory boards of the American Viticulture and Enology Research Network and has just accepted the position of Science Editor for the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. She is lead principal investigator on the multidisciplinary multi-principal investigator program in stuck fermentations funded by the American Vineyard Foundation.