Project Title: Development of an advanced molecular toolkit for genetic engineering of Nannochloropsis sp. for functional genetics and high value bio-products.
Supervisor: Professor Peter Ralph
Co-supervisor: Dr. Michele Fabris
Project Background: The species Nannochloropsis gaditana comes under the Eustigmatophyceae stramenopile lineage. Members of this genus are found in marine, brackish and fresh water. Nannochloropsis divide asexually and are studied extensively because of their oleaginous nature and are used as feedstock in aquaculture and nutraceuticals.
Nannochloropsis with its high lipid content, simple ultra-structure, haploid genome, inexpensive growing conditions, availability of fully sequenced genome, transcriptome data sets and efficient transformation protocols and preference for HR over non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) can offer a novel platform for the production of industrially relevant bioactive compounds and therapeutic drugs.
Nonetheless, Nannochloropsis still lacks a decent molecular toolkit that can be used in a laboratory setting for molecular biology and metabolic engineering work. The aim of my project is to design such a toolkit, which can be used by the research community at large for genetic engineering Nannochloropsis.
- Establish an advanced toolbox for functional genetics in Nannochloropsis
- Use Nannochloropsis as a novel platform for therapeutic protein expression.