I graduated in 2016 with a doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toledo. Whilst my long-standing interest has been in the field of biofuels and other high-value products derived from biomass, I have developed a great appreciation for the extraordinary power of the photosynthetic organisms, especially microalgae, and their ability to fix atmospheric carbon and simultaneously convert it to energy-rich molecules.
My doctoral dissertation is on identifying and addressing the challenges associated with outdoor cultivation of alkaliphilic microalgae. I was able to demonstrate that high pH conditions alone (pH of growth medium >10) can sustain long-term viability and maintenance of these microalgae species, without requiring a dedicated carbon dioxide supply.
These initial research findings lead me to focus on: (1) the interplay between carbon concentrating mechanism and the photosynthetic parameters in alkaliphilic algae, and (2) the role of inorganic bicarbonate/carbonate pH buffers on the growth process. These insights, in turn, helped us tailor the growth medium appropriately to achieve significantly improved productivities. I also developed a novel mixotrophic cultivation strategy for alkaliphilic algae that not only works under outdoor non-sterile conditions but also leads to rapid growth kinetics. My Ph. D. research has lead to multiple journal article submissions and a patent filing. Beginning the Spring of 2017, I have joined the algae research group of Professor Viamajala as a post doctoral fellow.
I will be directing the proposed project under the guidance of professor Viamajala and will be responsible for monitoring the progress of the interns involved in the project.