THE USE OF NARROW-BAND LED LIGHT IN PHOTOBIOREACTORS AND COMPARATIVE METABOLOMICS TO AID THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARINE MICROALGAE FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY

Alison Hughes Theme: Integrated Bioprocessing Cohort Year: 2017 Academic Partner: University of Strathclyde Industry Partner: Xanthella

Supervisor: Dr. Kate Duncan

Originally from the home of Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey in Ireland, I completed my undergraduate degree at the National University of Ireland, Galway. My general science background gave me experience in biochemistry and chemistry before I graduated with a BSc (hons) degree. It was during my final year project with prof. Bill J. Baker that my fascination for the marine environment began.

After completing my degree, I travelled to prof. Baker’s home university (University of South Florida) in Tampa where I spent two years working as a teaching and research assistant in marine natural products chemistry. My research focused on chemical ecology of Antarctic marine invertebrates, and the isolation of bioactive metabolites from marine fungi.

I have now moved back to this side of the Atlantic to pursue my PhD under the guidance of Dr. Katherine Duncan at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. My project focuses on the biotechnological potential of marine microalgae. I will manipulate the culturing conditions of marine microalgal strains to induce the production of antimicrobial metabolites. This will be coupled with molecular networking of their metabolites to allow rapid identification of compounds of interest.

My industrial partner, Xanthella Ltd., are creating sustainable and efficient photobioreactors in which microalgae can be cultured for a plethora of applications. I will spend one year at their company in Oban during my PhD.