Student and Postdoc Seminar Series

This semi-monthly symposium series is open to students, postdocs, faculty, commercial partners and the general public.  It is a showcase for the different Cal-CAB laboratories to present their research throughout algae biotechnology, increasing communication and collaboration within Cal-CAB and providing some excellent presentation and networking opportunities for students and postdocs.

Each seminar will take place from 4 to 6pm on the third Friday (usually) of each month at various locations around UCSD.  Each seminar will feature two to three brief student or postdoc talks, followed by a Q & A session.  The evening concludes with a reception.

2016 - 2017 Schedule

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February Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, February 17 at 4PM
WHERE: 1205 Natural Sciences Building, UC San Diego

New year / new me: conventional methods for engineering industrial-strength Chlamydomonas
Joseph Ostrand, Graduate Student, Mayfield Lab

Growth and Productivity of Microalgae Subject to Authentic Sinusoidal Light and Temperature Variation
Olga Gaidarenko, Graduate Student, Hildebrand Lab

Quantitative prediction of photoautotrophic growth
Jared Broddrick, Graduate Student, Palsson Lab

2015 - 2016



Women in Algae Seminar

WHEN: Friday, May 27 at 5:30PM
WHERE: Sumner Auditorium, SIO

California Center for Algae Biotechnology will be featuring Women in Algae in their semi-monthly student and postdoc seminar series to connect aspiring algae scientists, engineers and professionals in the algae community. This seminar will highlight the issues of women in science, showcase latest research throughout algae biotech, and provide valuable networking opportunities with many talented women in the growing algae industry.

For more information about this event, please visit the event website here.



May Student and Postdoc Seminar

WHEN: Friday, May 20 at 4PM
WHERE:2130 Bonner Hall

Characterization of Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Biosynthesis Genes in Cyanobacteria
Karl Hong, Student, Palenik Lab

Surfboards and Shoe Soles: Developing Sustainable Products from Renewable Polyols
Jack Lee, Stephen Lo, Marissa Tessman



April Student and Postdoc Seminar

WHEN: Friday, April, 15 at 4PM
WHERE:Natural Sciences Building Auditorium (first floor)

A cyanobacterial barcoded mutant library reveals genes involved in amoebal grazing
Mizu Ota, Graduate Student, J. Golden Lab

Massive Mutant Screens to Illuminate The Dark Side of The Cyanobacterium
Ben Rubin, Graduate Student, S. Golden Lab

Fitness contributions of the cyanobacterial circadian clock on diurnal physiology
David Welkie, Postdoctoral Scholar, S. Golden Lab 



January Student and Postdoc Seminar

WHEN: Friday, January, 15 at 4PM
WHERE: Natural Sciences Building Auditorium (first floor)

"Development of high-throughput tools for C. reinhardtii"
Joe Ostrand, Graduate Student, Mayfield Lab

"Unlocking the genome of an oleaginous diatom to engineer production strains”
Jesse Traller, Graduate Student, Hildebrand Lab



November Student and Postdoc Seminar

WHEN: Friday, November, 20 at 4PM
WHERE:Natural Sciences Building Auditorium (first floor)

Metabolic Engineering of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to produce long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
Will Ansari, Graduate Student, Mayfield Lab

Characterization and Development of Anti-trypanosomal Compounds from Marine Cyanobacteria
Bailey Miller, Graduate Student, Gerwick Lab



October Student and Postdoc Seminar

WHEN: Friday, October 16 at 4PM
WHERE: Center for Neural Circuits and Behavior, School of Medicine

Protein engineering for food and fuel
Dr. Rupak Doshi, Project Scientist, Chang Lab

Strategies to improve recombinant protein accumulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii chloroplast
Dr. Livia Seno Ferreira Camargo, Visiting Scholar, Mayfield Lab

2014 - 2015



June Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, June 5 at 4PM
WHERE: Sumner Auditorium, SIO
CHAIRED BY: Bill Gerwick

Developing genetic tools for Leptolyngbya sp., a filamentous marine cyanobacterium
Jonathan Tram, MS Candidate, UC San Diego

Structure and biosynthesis of polyunsaturated hydrocarbons in marine algae: Exploring the brown seaweed Zonaria farlowii
Dr. Valsamma Joseph, Visiting Scholar, National Centre for Aquatic Animal Health, Cochin University of Science &Technology

Heterologous expression of hydrocarbons from cyanobacterial natural product pathways
Nathan Moss, PhD candidate, Scripps Institution of Oceanography



May Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, May 15 at 4PM
WHERE: 2130 Bonner Hall, UCSD
CHAIRED BY: Jennifer Levering (Bernhard Palsson)
Genome scale metabolic reconstruction for Chlorella vulgaris UTEX 395

Cristal Zuniga, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD

A metabolic reconstruction of Phaeodactylum tricornutum: considerations for constraining genome scale models
Jared Broddrick, Graduate Student, UCSD



April Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, April 17 at 4PM
WHERE: 1205 Natural Sciences Building, UCSD
CHAIRED BY: Mark Hildebrand
Leveraging high-throughput RNA sequencing for gene model improvement in the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana

Raffaela Abbriano Burke, Graduate Student, SIO

California and Baja California toward biofuel production
Eva Sánchez, Graduate Student, SIO



February Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, February 20 at 4PM
WHERE: Sumner Auditorium, SIO
CHAIRED BY: Skip Pomeroy
Glycerol: Biodiesel Side Product, Utilization, and Learning Opportunity

Dr. Joseph Watson, Professor and Vice Chancellor Emeritus, UCSD

Synthesis of 1,3-dioxolanes and 1,3-dioxanes of glycerol and n-Butyl Aldehyde
Vince T. Huynh, Undergraduate Student, Professor and Vice Chancellor Emeritus, UCSD

Preparation of Potential Biodiesel Fuel Additives: Glycerol/n-Butyl Aldehyde Acetals and their Acetates
Aleksandra Volkova, Undergraduate Student, UCSD

Soybean to Polyol: Sustainable One Step Epoxidation/Ring Opening of Unsaturated Triglycerides
Nicolas Hartell, Undergraduate Student, UCSD

Eco-Friendly Quality Analysis: Greener Methods for Measuring Polyol Hydroxyl Number and Biodiesel Water Content
Marissa Tessman,Graduate Student, UCSD

BAAN / EDGE: Development of Real Time PCR for detection of Algal culture contaminants (bacterial/fungal) and general development
Stephen Espitia, EDGE Graduate



January Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, January 16 at 4PM
WHERE: 3500 Pacific Hall, UCSD
CHAIRED BY: Michael Burkart and Jim Golden with special visiting speaker Anil Day

Secretion of Natural Products by the Alga, Scenedesmus dimorphus
Jen Michaud, Graduate Student, UCSD

Synthetic Biology of Cyanobacteria: Further Development of the Genetic Toolbox
Arnaud Taton, Postdoc, UCSD

Precision engineering of crop chloroplast genomes
Anil Day, Sr. Lecturer, University of Manchester



Decemeber Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, December 12 at 4PM
WHERE: 1205 Natural Sciences Building, UCSD
CHAIRED BY: Susan Golden

Circadian Control of Metabolism in S. elongatus Under Diurnal Growth
Spencer Diamond, Graduate Student, UCSD

Survival at Night: The Importance of Circadian Clock Output
Chase Barber, Undergraduate, UCSD

Exploring Cyanobacteria's Essential Genes
Ben Rubin, Graduate Student, UCSD



November Student and Postdoc Symposium

WHEN: Friday, November 21 at 4PM
WHERE: 1205 Natural Sciences Building, UCSD
CHAIRED BY: Stephen Mayfield

Developing microalgae for the production of orally available recombinant therapeutic proteins
Daniel Barrera, Graduate Student, UCSD

High throughput sorting and analysis for increased recombinant protein accumulation in C. reinhardtii
Joe Ostrand, Graduate Student, UCSD

Synthetic Algal Promoters for Chlamydomonas reinhardtii engineering
Melissa Anderson, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD

2013 - 2014


Faculty Chair : Skip Pomeroy
Marine microorganisms as a source of VOCs in the atmosphere
Renee Williams, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD
Transition metal associations with primary biological particles in sea spray aerosol generated in a wave channel
Scott Wilson, Graduate Student, UCSD
Developing an RTPCR assay to evaluate Algae Cultures for (bacteria and fungal) contaminants
Stephen Espitia, Student, EDGE


Faculty Chair : Michael Burkart
Probing fatty acid metabolism in bacteria, cyanobacteria, green microalgae and diatoms with natural and unnatural fatty acids
Joris Beld, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD
Outdoor Cultivation of Microalgae, with a Twist
Nathan Schoepp, Graduate Student, UCSD


Faculty Chair : Mark Hildebrand
Genetic manipulation of carbon flux pathways to increase accumulation of neutral lipids in the centric diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana
Kalpana Manandhar-Shrestha, Postdoctoral Scholar, SIO
Enhancing LC-PUFA production in T. pseudonana by overexpressing the endogenous fatty acid elongase genes
Orna Cook, Postdoctoral Scholar, SIO
Development of diatoms as high-yield recombinant protein producing algal cell factories

Roshan Shrestha, Project Scientist, SIO


Faculty Chair : Susan Golden
Exploring alternative stages of lipopolysaccharide production for crop protection in the
cyanobacterium S. elongatus
Ryan Simkovsky, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD
Diurnal and circadian regulation of carbohydrate storage in a model cyanobacterium
Spencer Diamond Graduate Student, UCSD
Dynamic localization of the cyanobacterial circadian clock
Susan Cohen, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD


Faculty Chair : Jim Golden
Improved broad host range molecular tools for synthetic biology and biotechnology in cyanobacteria
Arnaud Taton, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD
Regulation of gene expression in cyanobacteria using synthetic riboswitches
Amy T. Ma, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD
Engineering biosynthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids in cyanobacteria
You Chen, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD


Faculty Chair : Stephen Mayfield
Towards site-specific genome engineering: a system for screening homologous recombination in the algal nuclear genome
Liz Specht, Graduate Student, UCSD
Synthetic Transcriptional Regulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Travis Muff, Postodoctoral Scholar, UCSD
Utilizing natural diversity and synthetic biology to engineer algal photosystems
Missy Scranton, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD

2012 - 2013


Faculty Chair : Skip Pomeroy
"Biofuels Spectroscopy One: A field instrument for algae production and sulfur analysis by XRF"
Roger Parks, Student, BAAN-UCSD
"Biofuels Spectroscopy Two: Trace metal contaminants by IC and AA and algae composition by FTIR"
Scott Wilson, Student, BAAN-UCSD
"Lipid extraction and Polyol synthesis from algae biomass"
Nathan Schoepp, Masters Student, UCSD


Faculty Chair : Greg Mitchell
“Photophysiological acclimation of Thalassiosira pseudonana"
Elliot Weiss, SIO
"A Light Dependent Model for the Growth Rate of Thalassiosira pseudonana"
Niu Du, Graduate Student, SIO
“Driving Innovation: One-Barrel for Baja Goes Full-Circle”
Kristian Gustavson, CMBC Alumni, SIO


Faculty Chair : Michael Burkart
"Activation of Secondary Metabolite Pathways in Microalgae"
Eva Sonnenschein, Postdoc, UCSD
“Fatty Acid Synthase Evolution Teaches Us Protein-Protein Interactions"
Joris Beld, Postdoc, UCSD
“Microalgae Milk: Casein Expression in Production Strains”
Nathan Schoepp, Masters Student, UCSD


Faculty Chair : Jon Shurin
“Experimental Evolution of Tradeoffs in Scenedesmus”
Kathleen Kwok, Masters Student, UCSD
“Thermal Constraints on Growth and Biochemistry of Diverse Microalgae”
Jiang Yu, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD
“Stoichiometry, Fatty Acids and Grazing Resistance of Algae”
Shovon Mandal, Postdoctoral Scholar, UCSD


Faculty Chair : Bianca Brahamsha and Brian Palenik
“Greenhouse and Pond Cultivation of Nitrogenfixing Cyanobacteria Co-cultured with Diatoms”
William Lambert, Masters Student (Palenik Lab), SIO
“Microbial Dynamics in Model Algal Biofuels Ponds”
Shuyi Wang, Postdoctoral Scholar(Palenik-Brahamsha Lab), SIO
“Predator-prey Interactions Between Cyanobacteria and Amoebae”
Amy Ma, Postdoctoral Scholar (Brahamsha-Golden Lab), SIO


Faculty Chair : Mark Hildebrand
"Genome and Methylome of a candidate biofuel organism: how omic data can inform approaches to improve productivity"
Jesse Traller, Ph.D. Student, SIO
"A global regulatory mechanism integrates carbon and energy metabolism in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana"
Sarah Smith, Ph.D. Student, SIO
“Intron retention and implications for the regulation of carbon partitioning genes in diatoms”
Raffaela Abbriano, Ph.D. Student, SIO


Faculty Chair : Bill Gerwick
"Characterization of cyanobacterial hydrocarbon composition and distribution of biosynthetic pathways"
Cameron Coates, Graduate Student, SIO
"Increased lipid accumulation without compromising growth: metabolic engineering of lipid catabolism in Thalassiosira pseudonana"
Emily Trentacoste, Graduate Student, SIO

2011 - 2012


"Nitrogen starvation induces post-translational modifications"
Ying Lin, Briggs Lab, UCSD
"Gene transfer in Leptolyngbya sp. Strain BL0902, a cyanobacterium suitable for biomass and biofuel production"
Arnaud Taton, Golden Lab, UCSD


"Transcriptional analyses of sea ice diatom communities"
Jeff McQuaid, PhD Candidate, Allen Lab, SIO
"SD-CAB Greenhouse and Wetlab Virtual Tour"
Nathan Schoepp, Masters Student, Burkart Lab, UCSD
“The Blind Date Between Algal Biofuels and Public Policy”
Jamie Rhodes, UC Davis (recent post-doc with Mitchell Lab, SIO)


"Synthetic Biology Engineering of Phototosystem II"
Javier Gimpel, PhD Candidate, Mayfield Lab, UCSD
"Metabolic engineering of algal strains for OMEGA-3 production"
Will Ansari, Graduate Student, Mayfield Lab, UCSD
"Stable heterologous expression and secretion of xylanase1 in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii"
Beth Rasala, Postdoctoral Scholar, Mayfield Lab, UCSD


“Cyanobacterial Heterocysts”
Britt Flaherty, PhD Candidate, J. Golden Lab, UCSD
"Cyanobacterial Circadian Rhythms”
Julie Bordowitz and Susan Cohen, Postdoctoral Scholars, S. Golden Lab, UCSD
“The Chlamydomonas Eye Spot”
Joseph Boyd, Postdoctoral Scholar, S. Golden Lab, UCSD


"Microalgal use of diverse nitrogen sources for growth"
Shuyi Wang, Postdoc, Brahamsha and Palenik Labs, UCSD
"Co-culturing nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria and diatoms in nitrogen deplete media for biofuels production"
William Lambert, Master’s Student, Palenik Lab, UCSD
"BAAN: Biodiesel Action and Awareness Network"
Michael Long, Mechanical Engineering Student, BAAN Student President, UCSD


"Life-cycle assessment on algal biofuel - Why do we biologists care?"
Du Nui, Graduate Student, Mitchell Lab, SIO
"Partitioning the light spectrum in co-occuring algae"
Garfield Kwan, Student, Shurin Lab, UCSD
"A trait-based assessment of algal diversity and productivity"
Jon Shurin, Associate Professor, Ecology, Behaviour & Evolution, UCSD


"Metabolic engineering of microalgae towards crop protection in biofuel production"
Eva Sonnenschein, Postdoctoral Scholar, Burkart Lab, UCSD
"Tuning fatty acid biosynthesis in algae by redox chemistry"
Joris Beld, Postdoctoral Scholar, Burkart Lab, UCSD
"BAAN: current projects and educational outreach"
Ryan Stewart, BAAN Associate, Pomeroy Lab, UCSD


"Grazer-resistant and auto-locculating mutants of the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942"
Ryan Simkovsky, Postdoc, Golden Lab, UCSD
"Engineering Cyanobacteria to Provide Nutrients for Algal Biofuel Strains"
Anthony Daulo, PhD Candidate, Golden Lab, UCSD
"The study of transgenic Spirulina and its application"
Jun Zhang, Golden Lab, UCSD


"A Survey of Cyanobacterial Hydrocarbon Production" "Increased lipid accumulation in Thalassiosira pseudonana by metabolic engineering of lipid catabolism"
Cameron Coates, Graduate Student, Gerwick Lab, SIO Emily Trentacoste, Graduate Student, Gerwick Lab, SIO


"Hyperaccumulation of Lipid in the Diatom Cyclotella cryptica and the Application of Imaging Flow Cytometry"
Jesse Traller, Graduate Student, Hildebrand Lab, SIO
"Towards Carbon Flux Engineering to Improve Lipid Productivity in the Diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana"
Raffaela Abbriano, Graduate Student, Hildebrand Lab, SIO
"Effects of Silicon Starvation on Photophysiology and Gene Expression of the Marine Diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana"
Corine Glé, Postdoctoral Scholar, Vernet & Hildebrand Labs, SIO

2010 - 2011


"Algae: Revolutionizing Protein Therapeutics"
Miller Tran, Graduate Student, Mayfield Lab, UCSD
"Modeling economic feasibility of methane diesel electrical generation including anaerobic digestion of algal biomass">
Niu Du, Graduate Student, Mitchell Lab, SIO
"Central Carbon Metabolism and Lipid Accumulation in Diatoms"
arah Smith, Graduate Student, Hildebrand Lab, SIO


"Functional diversity and evolutionary history of microbial secondary lipid biosynthesis"
Christine Shulse, Graduate Student, Allen Lab, UCSD
"The effect of variations in temperature and irradiance on the fatty acids and pigments of the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana"
Frank Shang, Staff Research Associate, Mitchell Lab, SIO
"Transcriptional regulation of carbon storage in cyanobacteria"
Spencer Diamond, Graduate Student, Golden Lab, UCSD


"Manipulation of Fatty Acid Biosynthesis in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii"
Jillian Blatti, Graduate Student, Burkart Lab, UCSD
"High-Throughput Genetic Screening Techniques in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii"
Daniel Barrera, Graduate Student, Mayfield Lab, UCSD


"Algae for the economical and sustainable treatment of wastewater"
Ivan Razinkov, PhD Candidate, Hasty Lab, UCSD
"Algae Chytrid Interactions"
Niu Du, Graduate Student, SIO
"One Barrel For Baja - Taking algal biofuel from start to finish"
Kristian Gustavson, Masters Student, CMBC, SIO / UCSD

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