Yeast has been used extensively in the laboratory as a research model, and while it may seem unlikely, our cells actually share many of the same basic processes with yeast cells. Work using yeast has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine several times, most recently in 2016. You can hear more from scientists that use yeast from this video by the Crick Institute, where research on human health and disease is conducted.
Although we typically use yeast in baking and in brewing beer, it has also helped further our understanding of physiology. A thorough understanding of the fundamental processes in biology can help investigators learn more about why diseases happen, and importantly, how to cure them.