My interests are in microalgae and cyanobacteria, how they function in their natural environment and how they can be used to help tackle society’s big challenges. These big challenges relate to climate change, human health, bioenergy, food-security, aquaculture, waste-water and industrial biotechnology.
My early research focused on the study of chlorophyll and carotenoid pigments to understand phytoplankton community composition and function in relation to the carbon cycle and climate change. From this I developed an interest in algal biotechnology using my knowledge on microalgal carotenoids and UV sunscreen compounds working with industry to develop personal care products for anti-aging and cosmetics. (http://www.nnfcc.co.uk/publications/optimising-yield-of-antioxidants-and-sunscreens-in-microalgae-for-health-and-beauty-products-yasmin-link-project-summary).
This has led to my wider interest in understanding metabolism in microalgae and large scale cultivation of microalgae for industrially useful products including for food and for sustainable chemicals to replace existing petroleum based chemicals.
In recent years I have led a number of projects funded by the Research Councils and the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate-UK) working with industry to develop sustainable chemicals from microalgae. I also led the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) component of the European INTERREG- EnAlgae project (http://www.enalgae.eu/). I am currently working with colleagues at PML and in India on a project funded by BBSRC researching algal:bacterial interactions using microbiological and molecular techniques with a future aim of producing biofuel from microalgae cultivated on wastewater.
Currently I am investigating metabolomics as a new systems biology approach to better understand metabolism in aquatic microbes both in their natural environment and for applied industrial research.
I am keen to develop student interest in all aspects of algal research.