We will set up a microalgal platform to apply synthetic biology technology to better biofuel production:

    Modem human society is facing great challenges from food, health, environment and energy. The rapid development of synthetic biology technologies shed light to potential solutions to all of these problems. In our lab, we are focusing on two major issues: environment and energy.
    Working with one of the leaders in microalgae field, Dr. Qingyu Wu, we recently sequenced and performed a serial of Omic studies using the green alga Chlorellla protothecoides as a model system. This alga has the ability to grow not only autotrophically as most other green algae, but also heterotrophically when sugars are available. Consequently, the cells will accumulate large amount of neutral lipid, which servers as good source of biofuel after further processing.

  1. We will develop methodology to optimize each step in the process of making biofuel from this microalga, including cultivation conditions, cell harvest, oil extraction, industrial scale fermentation etc.
  2. We will develop and test methodologies to introduce foreign DNA into this alga, enabling us to modify its genome. Therefore, a serial of follow-up manipulations could be followed.
  3. We will actively seek other microalgae to integrate biofuel production into waste treatment, generating large amount of biomass during the process of environmental remedy.