Title: Group Leader and Assistant Professor in algae synthetic biology and biotechnology
Association/Company: University of Southern Denmark (SDU) Biotechnology
Michele Fabris directs the Algae Synthetic Biology Lab at the University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), focused on deciphering the biochemical and genetic potential of microalgae and generating new specialized strains for the production of high-value molecules.
Michele has been a Research Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney and the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform (Australia), after receiving a BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Bologna (2008) and a PhD in Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2013) from Ghent University (Belgium).
Obtaining more from microalgae
Microalgae and synthetic biology
Microalgae are ideal light-powered biofactories, as they only require sunlight, seawater and inorganic nutrients to grow. However, only natural isolates are currently industrially exploited, limitedly to products that they naturally synthetize.
Synthetic biology has the intertwined potential to unlock unexplored unique traits, and to re-program microalgae into efficient biofactories for numerous applications through new, DNA-encoded functions. I will describe how we explored the suitability of diatoms – a particularly relevant group of microalgae – for synthetic biology applications and what challenges we will tackle to generate designer industrial strains, fuelled by light and CO2.