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Courtesy of Mike Allen and Steve Gschmeissner

Meet the team

Executive Group

Professor Saul Purton

Prof. Saul Purton

Saul is a Professor of Algal Biotechnology at University College London, where he heads the UCL Algal Biotechnology Group. He obtained his PhD in plant molecular biology from the University of Cambridge in 1988, and was then awarded a long-term EMBO Research Fellowship to study algal molecular-genetics at the University of Geneva, before taking up a permanent academic position at UCL in 1991.

Saul has over 25 years of research experience in the field of algal biology and molecular genetics, with current research projects focusing on: i) the biology, genetics and evolution of the algal chloroplast and mitochondrion; ii) the development of green algae and cyanobacteria as GM platforms for the production of novel fuel molecules or therapeutic proteins. He played a pioneering role in the development of technologies for introducing genes into the nuclear and chloroplast genomes of the model alga, Chlamydomonas, and several on-going projects in the Group aim to develop similar methods for other industrially important algal species. He is also head of Algae @ UCL, a virtual centre at UCL whose members are biologists, engineers, architects and social scientists working together to explore novel applications of microalgae. Finally, he is a founding member of the Algal Biotechnology Consortium that brings together algal groups from the University of Cambridge, UCL and Rothamsted Research Institute.

Professor Michele Stanley

Co-Director, Macroalgae
Prof. Michele Stanley

Michele has over 23 years research experience in the area of biochemistry and molecular biology. She has worked on applied phycology projects for more than 17 years and her main focus at SAMS has been leading the development and the continued strengthening research in the area of algal biotechnology both locally and internationally. Michele’s other main role was as the Director of the NERC/TSB Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group (2011-2014). She is a member of EPSRC’s Energy Strategic Advisory Team,  the Scottish Government’s Science and Research Working Group for the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture representing Blue Technology, the UK Cross Research Councils Bioenergy Group, vice-chair for the Scientific Advisory Board of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and a member of the steering committees for both the Aquaculture and Marine Renewable Energy forums under Marine Alliance of Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS).

Professor Anna Amtmann

Co-Director, Cyanobacteria
Prof. Anna Amtmann

Over recent years her group has developed a strong portfolio of collaborative projects with industry on cyanobacterial polymers and pigments (funded through IBioIC), and she collaborates with engineers on methods for single-cell bioprospecting (funded by EPSRC, IBioIC and industry). Anna is a board member of the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group (SIBDG) and the Synthetic Biology Steering Group (SBSG). Together with Bill Sloan (Engineering) she successfully obtained funding for a UofG KE Associate in the area of IB. Supported by PHYCONET Anna has carried out a range of activities to integrate cyanobacterial research and industry links in the UK. We now have a comprehensive database of molecular tools, protocols and strains available in UK labs and a record of industry partners. The first ‘Cyano UK’ network meeting will take place in Glasgow in September 2018 with 50 delegates from academia and industry.

Professor Patricia Harvey

Co-Director, Microalgae
Prof. Patricia Harvey

She is Professor of Biochemistry and Head of Algae Biotechnology, which is dedicated to a coordinated research effort in algal biotechnology. She contributed scientific knowledge on how more food and biomass can be obtained from the ocean using algae for the Nov 2017 Evidence Review Report and Scientific Opinion Food from the Oceans delivered by the Scientific Advisory Mechanism High Level Group of Advisors to the European Commission, to inform Policy Change, and organized as conference Chair, “Algae Biorefineries for Europe 2017”. She is highly experienced in working effectively with European and international collaborators and in managing large complex, multi-partner commercially focused/donor funded R&D projects under the EC‘s Framework Programmes.

Doctor Kirstin Covington

Network Manager
Dr. Kirstin Covington

Kirstin has worked in industrial biotechnology for over 14 years. She studied at the University Edinburgh and the University of Warwick before working on the EUKETIDES project with Russell Cox and Prof. Tom Simpson at the University of Bristol. Kirstin joined TMO Renewables in 2005 initially to help run and coordinate the company’s external research programmes but this then expanded to include the strain development programme as it developed in house.  In 2014 she took up the role of Network Manager for the phase I NIBB Plants to Products where she oversaw the delivery of approx. £1.3M of project funding to Plants to Products members in over 50 projects through the lifetime of the network.  She joined the Algae-UK team in April 2019.