I am a researcher in the Mackinder Lab and I work on the CO2 concentrating mechanism in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.
Algae are responsible for up to 50% of all global photosynthesis. They form the bottom of the global food web, produce the O2 we breathe and play an important role in capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. Many important lineages of algae have evolved a process to supercharge their photosynthesis known as the CO2 concentrating mechanism (CCM). The CCM functions by taking up HCO3- from the environment and transporting it through the algal cell to a compartment known as the chloroplast that contains the photosynthetic apparatus. The HCO3- is converted to CO2, which can subsequently be used by the enzyme Rubisco to drive photosynthesis. My research focusses on the mechanisms by which HCO3- is transported through the algal cell. I use a range of molecular biology, algal physiology, microscopy and biochemical approaches.
The data generated by my research also feeds directly into an effort to engineer CCM components into higher plants with our close collaborators in the McCormick Lab at the University of Edinburgh. If successful, this has been modelled to potentially increase crop yields by up to 60%, alleviating food security issues as a result of increasing population and climate change.
For more information, please see www.mackinderlab.com
My aim as a teacher is to impart knowledge and enthusiasm for algal biology and biotechnology using research lead teaching. I help my students develop their fundamental biological knowledge, laboratory, data analysis and communication of research skills. As an early career researcher, I am also well positioned to support my students in their career development.
My tutorials focus predominantly on algal biology and biotechnology. I cover a range of skills from experimental design, critical thinking, the communication of science to different audiences and research paper critiquing.
My projects are predominantly lab based and compliment my area of research into the algal CO2 concentrating mechanism. Students that work with me will gain a broad range of culturing techniques, molecular biology, bioinformatics, microscopy and data analysis skills. I believe a research project should promote creativity and independence and I am always willing to talk to potential students about their research ideas.