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Cafe Synthetique: Reprogramming Algal Metabolism

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Alexandra Ting.

Café Synthetique is the monthly meetup for the Cambridge synthetic biology community with informal talks, discussion and pub snacks. It is kindly sponsored by Cambridge Consultants.


“Nucleus-chloroplast genetic circuits in green algae” Aleix Gorchs Rovira, Alison Smith Lab, Dept. of Plant Sciences

Algae can potentially be a green source of high-value compounds. However, systems that control tight gene expression are lacking. We developed a platform strain that can tightly regulate gene expression of the photosynthetic apparatus but also foreign metabolic genes by using RNA -binding proteins called PPR proteins.

“Using synthetic biology to engineer lipid metabolism in marine algae” Dr Katrin Geisler, Alison Smith Lab, Dept. of Plant Sciences

Marine microalgae, like the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum, are exciting biotechnology chassis as they grow on alternative water sources. Their ability to accumulate large amounts of lipids makes them an interesting platform to produce novel fatty acids or valuable oils for food and feed. Over the last years, we and others have developed a range of established and novel DNA parts for the algae P. tricornutum. Using these parts, we assembled molecular devices to manipulate the lipid metabolism in the algae. We are combining metabolic engineering with microfluidic devices for the encapsulation and growth of wildtype and transformed microalgae cells in microdroplets, allowing the analysis of single cells and the screening of them in a high-throughput manner.

This talk is part of the Engineering Biology Interdisciplinary Research Centre series.

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