Current Lab Members


Stephen Mayfield, Principal Investigator

Dr. Mayfield is the director of the California Center for Algae Biotechonology, co-director of Food & Fuel for the 21st Century, and a professor of Molecular Biology at the University of California. San Diego. His research focuses on gene regulation in eukaryotic algae and the use of this alga for the production of human therapeutic proteins and as a platform for biofuel production. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of California, Berkeley and B.S. in Biochemistry and Plant Biology from the California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo.

Graduate Students


Joseph Ostrand

Joey is a graduate student at UCSD developing high-throughput techniques for rapid algal strain development and optimization. By utilizing fluorescent protein reporters, individual cells with favorable attributes can be isolated from a pool of millions using fluorescence activated cell sorting. Development of this technology in concert with next-generation sequencing will allow us to identify important genetic elements which confer greater protein accumulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Joey is also using FACS to develop selection methods which do not require antibiotic resistance.


Bijie Ren

Bijie is interested in systems and synthetic biology, and would like to use algae to produce therapeautic proteins, natural products and biofuels. He is currently utilizing systems biology methods, such as network reconstruction for algae, to study metabolic flux balance for algae culturing in certain environment. Through microfluidic chip and automated software, interesting single cell analysis can be performed and computational work tested. Bijie also uses novel physical and bioinformatic methods to systematically analyze the transcription factor binding sites in algae. With the discovery of novel regulatory elements in future, some cell circuits can be designed and built to make algae a smart sensor/cleaner for toxic chemicals, cell factories, or therapeautic cargos for human cancers and serious diseases.


Yasin Torres-Tiji

Yasin obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from Autonomous University of Barcelona, working in maize on lignocellulosic ethanol production. After that, he became interested in using microalgae as a biofactory for the production of different products ranging from inexpensive biofuels to very costly and valuable recombinant proteins. In order to achieve such goal he joined the Mayfield Lab and is currently working in optimizing controlled gene expression in both nucleus and chloroplast. Developing such technology will not only let us produce recombinant proteins of interest at a very low cost, but also will let us modify the metabolism of algae to meet our expectation of a low cost bioproducts platform. One of those expectations is to transform microalgae into a superfood that will become a new source of sustainable and cheap healthy food without having to sacrifice the organoleptic pleasure of tasting a succulent hamburger.



Frank Fields

Lab Manager

Frank earned his Master's degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he studied the ecology and evolution of algae, specifically looking at the effect of different physiological traits and evolutionary lineages on growth rate and lipid content. He is now collaborating with researchers at UCSD and the local biotech industry to advance the research, development, and education of algae as a means to produce valuable commercial products.

Visiting Scientists

Livia Seno Ferreira Camargo, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Former Lab Members

William Ansari, Graduate Student

Melissa Scranton, Postdoctoral Scholar

Melissa Anderson, Postdoctoral Scholar

Michael Mayfield, Triton Algae Innovations

João Vitor Dutra Molino, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Beatriz Cruz Moreno, Triton Algae Innovations

Beth Rasala, Triton Algae Innovations

Miller Tran, Triton Algae Innovations

Arzu Yildirim, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey

Daniel Barrera, Graduate Student

Metin Bilgin, Visiting Scientist

Ryan Stewart, Lab Assistant

Austin Hallgren, Triton Algae Innovations

Nathan Schoepp, Staff Research Associate

James Hyun, Lab Manager

Viktoriya Boyko, Visiting Scientist, National University of Kyiv, Ukraine

Ryan Georgianna, Postdoctoral Fellow

Javier Gimpel, Graduate Student

Liz Specht, Graduate Student

Travis Muff, Postdoctoral Fellow

Azeem Siddique, Researcher

James Gregory, Postdoctoral Fellow, Postdoc, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Marina Mariscuchi, Visiting Graduate Student

Lenny DeJager, Visiting Graduate Student

Hussam Hassan Nour-Eldin, Postdoctoral Fellow, Associate Professor, Department of Plant and Environmental Science, University of Copenhagen

Carla Jones, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sustainability, Roosevelt University

Mike Hannon, Post-Doctoral Fellow Philip Lee, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK 2004

Machiko Muto, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ph.D. International Agricultural Developement, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Department of International Agricultural Development, 2005

Michal Jager

Pelle Pettersson, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Andrea Manuell, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Julia Marin-Navarro, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Alexa Pham, Undergraduate Research Technician

David Seifker, Research Technician, Graduate Student at Univeristy of Miami, Medical School

Nikul Patel, Undergraduate Research Technician

Maria Veronica Beligni, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Rincon Pharmacueticals

Dwight Barnes, TSRI Ph.D. Student, Post-Doctoral Fellow at UCSF, Andino Lab

Ryan Henry, Research Technician, Graduate Student at University of Colorado, Boulder

Karen Espina, Research Technician, Rincon Pharmacueticals

Jason Schultz, Research Technician, Rincon Pharmacueticals

Scott Franklin, Senior Staff Scientist, CoFounder and VP Technology Development, Rincon Pharmacueticalsz

Anna Coragliotti, Research Technician, Solazyme

Kenichi Yamaguchi, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Division of Biochemistry, Faculty of Fisheries, Nagasaki University

Emma Brown, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Post-Doctoral Fellow with Dr. Andrew Lever, University of Cambridge

Aravind Somanchi , Post-Doctoral Fellow, Solazyme

AmyBeth Cohen, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Associate Professor of Biology, Cal State, Fullerton

Contact Us

Stephen Mayfield
University of California, San Diego
3802 AP&M, MC: 0116
9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093

P: (858) 822-7743