OpenPlant PI Professor Alison Smith featured on BBC Radio 4's 'The Life Scientific' on Tuesday 31 January, discussing her love of biochemistry with Jim al-Khalili. Her interest led to a passion for algae and their extraordinary and sometimes bizarre molecular diversity. Their abundant complex metabolites and natural products, combined with their ease of growth in large volumes, make algae a key target for biotechnology and synthetic biology. Alison has worked extensively on the topic of algal biofuels and more recently, algal acquisition of vitamins from co-cultured bacteria, which could be used in food supplement development. Algal farms are beginning to emerge as sustainable biofactories for more and more compounds that we rely on in our daily lives.
Alison's lab will soon host an OpenPlant postdoctoral researcher examining genetic regulation through riboswitches and members of her lab are already contributing to a growing collection of MoClo DNA parts for the alga Chlamydomonas rheinhardtii.