Principal investigator: Kourosh Salehi-Ashtiani
Algae have garnered significant interest in recent years for their potential applications in the production of biofuels and biorenewables; however, significant challenges must be addressed before algal-based fuels or bioproducts can be commercially produced. It is necessary, for example, to improve yield without reducing robustness of the production strains. This optimization process requires innovative strategies, such as large-scale functional screens or model-based metabolic engineering approaches achievable through systems biology. Moreover, arid regions, such as the UAE, may require the use of marine species with biofuel capacity that can be cultivated in seawater. To address these challenges, we interrogate Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model algal species and perform computational and experimental studies to understand the underlying wiring of its metabolic circuitry. Further, we carry out bioprospecting in the UAE to isolate, identify, and characterize different species isolated genomically and phenotypically. Species with suitable characteristics are then optimized through genetic or synthetic biology approaches for production of biofuel precursors or other bioproducts of interest. Additional information on these (and related projects) may be found here.
Researchers and Staff:
Amnah Alzahmi: Research Assistant
Sarah Daakour: Postdoctoral Associate
Basel Khraiwesh: Senior Research Scientist
David Nelson: Research Scientist