Laboratory Overview

Paramedium bursaria video clip

Research Interests

Our laboratory is currently focused on three primary research areas. The first focus involves the study of biosynthetic pathways for commodity fuels and high-value products from select bacteria and algae. Our second focus is on bacteria and cyanobacteria capable of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and the role these species play in the biological nitrogen cycle. Our final focus is related to the production of extracellular fermentable sugars .

Members of our laboratory must have a strong biology and biochemistry background with an interest in applied and basic science. In recent years, we have been constructing various tools for genetic approaches in model bacteria, and are interested in biosynthetic approaches to produce compounds that could replace current fuels or have value as specialty chemicals.

Specific Research Projects

  • Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) for sustainable solutions to agriculture and aquaculture
  • Extracellular sugar production by model green algae
  • Wax ester production in the model bacterium Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8
  • Triacylglyceride (TAG) production from alkaline diatoms
  • Directed evolution approaches for novel protein design and pathway engineering
  • Identification of microbes capable of biodegrading polyethylene and polystyrene


New Paper Published

1/10/2018 - Our paper titled "Genome sequences of Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 and Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80: implications to maltose excretion by a green alga" was published in The Plant Journal. This is our first paper related to our work with algae that release extracellular sugars. Stay tuned for others to follow shortly.

Matthew Arriola successfully defends thesis

10/9/2017 - Matt successfully defended his thesis titled "The Sequencing, Assembly and Annotation of Sugar Producing Green Algae and the Design of a Low Cost Turbidostat"

The 7th International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts

06/19/2017 - Visit Matt at his poster this week at the International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels and Bioproducts!  He will be presenting his work on a putative maltose excretion pathway in addition to introducing two newly sequenced algal genomes.