y1000+ Project


The Hittinger Lab

Hittinger Lab Photo 2016

The Hittinger Lab uses yeast carbon metabolism as a model for basic bioenergy, biomedical, and evolutionary research. Our research interests and integrated approaches are at the intersection of biodiversity; biochemistry; biotechnology; and functional, ecological, and evolutionary genomics. Ongoing projects are focused on understanding the origin and evolution of aerobic fermentation, yeast ecology and biodiversity, genetic variation in natural and industrial yeasts, genome engineering and synthetic biology, and the metabolism of alternative carbon sources (e.g. galactose, maltose, xylose) that may have bioenergy and brewing applications.



~ May 2017 ~

Congratulations to Max Haase for winning a University Book Store Academic Excellence Award for his research!

Congratulations to graduating seniors Kelly Buh (Genetics), Max Haase (Evolutionary Biology), and Ryan Moriarty (Genetics)!


~ April 2017 ~

Media specialist Lisa Sorlie takes research experience and innovative curriculum back to Bonduel School District

GLBRC Reporting on her successes

STEM Diversity program reporting

Microbiology PhD student EmilyClare Baker is awarded a Louis and Elsa Thomsen Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship for her research on the S. eubayanus genome!

~ March 2017 ~

GLBRC postdoctoral associate David Peris and colleagues show the potential of interspecies hybridization for biofuel production by Saccharomyces. Read about it in Biotechnology for Biofuels! Check it out!

~ Spring 2017 ~

The Hittinger Lab welcomes Rachel to the lab!

~ Fall 2016 ~

The Hittinger Lab has grown in numbers this fall! We welcome Samantha, Ellie, Ritika, and Aaron as our newest Wild YEAST Hunters! We also welcome Edward, our newest hands that keep us clean, stocked, and organized.

~ October 2016 ~

PhD student Christina (Meihua) Kuang, et al., show how "ongoing resolution of duplicate gene functions shapes the diversification of a metabolic network."

Full article in eLife

~ September 2016 ~

Dr. David Krause joins the lab. Welcome, Dr. Krause!

~ Summer 2016 ~

Check out this article about our amazing summer RET, Lisa Sorlie! Have a great school year, Mrs. Sorlie.

What I did on my summer vacation!

~ July 2016 ~

David Peris, Quinn Langdon, and colleagues show how rare North American wild isolates of Saccharomyces eubayanus are related to each other and domesticated hybrid lager yeasts.Beer Montage

UW press release

Spanish language press release

Full article in PLoS Genetics

~ June 2016 ~

Congratulations to Dr. Bill Alexander on his new job! He has accepted an exciting opportunity at Muse Biotechnology, an up-and-coming genome engineering and synthetic biology company based in Boulder, Colorado. There he will set up the yeast side of their rapidly growing operation.

~ April 2016 ~

Awards Season for lab members!

Emily Baker, author of The genome sequence of Saccharomyces eubayanus and the domestication of lager-brewing yeasts has won MBE's best student paper award for 2015! Congratulations, Emily!

We also want to congratulate Max Haase, Martin Jarzyna and Ryan Moriarty, all undergraduate researchers in our lab, who have won research awards. Great Job All!

Two lab members also won awards to attend The Allied Genetics Conference in Florida this summer. Congratulations to Dr. David Peris Navarro and Max Haase.


~ March 2016 ~

Dr. Russell Wrobel joins the lab!

Dr. William Alexander published a paper in PNAS titled:

Horizontally acquired genes in early-diverging pathogenic fungi enable the use of host nucleosides and nucleotides.

Check it out!

~ February 2016 ~

Members of the Hittinger Lab share their knowledge of colony morphology and genetic heretability in yeast at the 2016 Tree of Life event. Large numbers of eager students joined us for the afternoon to learn with labs. Thank you to all who worked hard to make this event a huge success!

~ 2016 ~

~ December 2015 ~

Hittinger and colleagues publish a review on “Genomics and the making of yeast biodiversity” in Current Opinion in Genetics and Development.

Read it here!

~ November 2015 ~

William G. Alexander and colleagues publish a new method for making synthetic yeast hybrids for brewing and biofuels research.

Download the paper here!

Check out the UW Press Release here!

For more great press on this paper, check out the press followings on our Press page!

~ September 2016 ~

Dr. Jacek Kominek joins the lab. Welcome to the USA!

~ August 2015 ~

EmilyClare Baker and colleagues publish Saccharoymces eubayanus genome in new paper.

"Lager yeasts did not just originate once. This unlikely marriage between two species, genetically as different from one another as humans and birds, happened at least twice. Although these hybrids were different from the start, they also changed in some predictable ways during their domestication," said Chris Todd Hittinger.

Here is the official press release from MBE

UW-News Press Release by David Tenenbaum

Download the paper here!

~ June 2015 ~

Dr. Dana Opulente joins the lab. Welcome Dr. Opulente!

Chris Hittinger has been selected as one of the two recipients of the Alfred Toepfer Faculty Fellow Awards.

The one-year award is bestowed on pre-tenure faculty whose research benefits agricultural activities within the United States and whose areas of interest lie in the scientific fields of crop research, improvements in crop yield and quality, or animal sciences. The award can also go to faculty members whose agricultural research is considered biological or physical in nature. This award is supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

~ April 2015 ~

April 20, 2015

Chris Hittinger is mentioned in Rebecca Blank's Op Ed piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Economic success depends on UW, other public universities". Check it out!


April 7, 2015

Bucky Badger came to the Hittinger Lab to meet Blastobotrys buckinghamii, one of the eight newly discovered yeasts published by Kayla Sylvester.

Beer Montage

Read all about it!

eCALS - April 9, 2015

University of Wisconsin-Madison NEWS - March 13, 2015, by David Tenenbaum

UW Extension - Bucky yeast joins list of new yeast discoveries - March 13, 2015 (audio file)

~ March 2015 ~

Kayla Sylvester and a team of Wild YEAST researchers publishes a paper on a survey of our wild yeast samples, and describes eight new yeast species! Download here!

Temperature and host preferences drive the diversification of Saccharomyces and other yeasts: a survey and the discovery of eight new yeast species.

Beer Montage


And check out the great press this publication is getting!

~ Spring 2015 ~

Check out "Forever Rising", by Terry Devitt, the feature article (and cover) of the Spring 2015 Grow Magazine, Wisconsin's magazine for the life sciences. Download the pdf here!

Interested in past Lab News? Check out the Lab News Archives!



Photo by Diego Libkind


Chris Todd Hittinger
Laboratory of Genetics
425-G Henry Mall
4340-4360 Genetics/Biotechnology Center
Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1580
United States

Contact the Lab: HittingerLab at genetics(dot) wisc(dot)edu UW Directory Link

©2008-2017 by Chris Todd Hittinger