SD-CAB has won a 3 year, 9 million dollar grant from the Department of Energy to create a Consortium for Algal Biofuels Commercialization to study three aspects of the algal biofuels value chain: 1) Crop Protection, 2) Nutrient Utilization and Recycling, and 3) Genetic Tools. The Consortium will be carried out as collaborations between five academic institutions and several industrial partners. The academic institutions are: University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, Davis, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and Rutgers University. The industrial partners include: Sapphire Energy, Life Technologies, and Life Cycle Associates. Please see the following brief bios on our collaborators and their research.
Stephen Mayfield, Ph.D., Professor of molecular biology and John Dove Isaacs Chair of Natural Philosophy
Research areas: 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 is also developing molecular tools for algal genetic transformation.
Steve A. Kay, Ph.D., Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences and Richard C. Atkinson Chair in Biological Sciences
Research areas: Implementation of genomic tools to develop photosynthetic microbes for biofuel and bioproduct production
Steven Briggs, Ph.D., Professor of cell and developmental biology
Research areas: Use of genomic analysis of plants and animals, including the use of proteomics to identify regulatory aspects of lipid biogenesis in algae
Susan Golden, Ph.D., Professor of molecular biology
Research areas: Cyanobacterial genetics and molecular biology, including investigations into light-activated gene expression, development of the photosynthetic apparatus, circadian-regulated gene expression, and high-value bioproduct production
Mike Burkart, Ph.D., Associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry
Research areas: The Burkart laboratory follows a general program of developing systems for the study of natural product regulation and production.
James W. Golden, Ph.D., Professor of molecular biology
Research areas: Dr. Golden is one of the leading scientists investigating the genetics and molecular biology of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria and metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria for the production of biofuels.
Jonathan Shurin, Ph.D., Associate professor of ecology, behavior and evolution
Research areas: Control of productivity and diversity in algal communities by zooplankton consumers and the supply of limiting nutrients, the flow of energy and materials from algae to their natural enemies and the factors that allow grazers to exert strong impact on their resources or new species to invade communities.
Bianca Brahamsha, Ph.D., Research biologist
Research areas: Molecular analysis of the physiology of marine cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus, and isolation of new algal species for biofuel production
Mark Hildebrand, Ph.D., Research professor
Research areas: Gene expression in marine diatoms and on the use of diatoms for lipid production as a biofuel source. He also works on the development of nuclear transformation technologies in diatoms.
B. Greg Mitchell, Ph.D., Research professor
Research areas: Algae commercial applications, including quantification of yields of bioenergy molecules in the light-temperature-nutrient matrix that regulates algal physiology. He also uses numerical modeling of algal growth and biomass yields for designing photobioreactors that optimize commercial yields.
Brian Palenik, Ph.D., Professor of marine biology
Research areas: Ecology, physiology, and genomics of marine microalgae focusing on cyanobacteria, small green algae such as Ostreococcus, and the prymensiophyte Emiliania huxleyi. He is working to bring novel species from these groups into laboratory culture for biofuel production.
Alissa Kendall, Ph.D., Professor
Research areas: Life cycle modeling of biofuels and food production systems. Life cycle modeling of highway infrastructure. Development of a framework for life cycle modeling of long-lived and complex systems.
George Oyler, M.D, Ph.D., President of Synaptic Research
Research areas: Dr. Oyler is the President of Synaptic Researchand holds MD and PhD degrees in neuroscience. Prior to forming Synaptic Research, Dr. Oyler was affiliated with several prestigious research and medical institutions, including the ScrippsResearch Institute, Pennsylvania State University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland.
Don Weeks, Ph.D., Professor
Research areas: Our laboratory is engaged in two exciting and challenging areas of research. One deals with elucidation of the genetic and molecular mechanisms involved in the ability of algal cells (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) to enhance photosynthesis by increasing internal levels of CO2 to 60x the external levels of CO2 (i.e., a carbon concentrating mechanism). The second line of research focuses on the genetic engineering of crop plants for enhanced photosynthesis, disease resistance and herbicide resistance.
James Van Etten, Ph.D., Professor
Research areas: Van Etten and colleague Russ Meints discovered one of only about 60 known virus families, which have led to information that may be significant to human, animal and plant health. Van Etten's passion for scientific discovery was recognized earlier this year when he was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.
Heriberto Cerutti, Ph.D., Professor
Research areas: We are currently using the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana as model systems to identify and characterize molecular components of the gene silencing machineries. We are also interested in the applications of gene silencing for biotechnological and therapeutic purposes.
Paul Falkowski, Ph.D., Professor
Research areas: Biogeochemical cycles, photosynthesis, biological oceanography, molecular biology, biochemistry and biophysics, physiological adaptation, plant physiology, evolution, mathematical modeling, symbiosis.
Charles Dismukes, Ph.D., Professor
Research areas: Biophysical chemistry. Inorganic chemistry
Debashish Battacharya, Ph.D., Professor
Research areas: We have long-standing interests in algal/protist evolution and genomics and specific projects include elucidating the endosymbiotic origin of photosynthetic organelles (plastids), functional genomics of “red tide”-causing dinoflagellates, erecting the eukaryotic tree of life, and studying microRNA evolution.