Algal Biology Focus of Next Brown Bag Lecture

LANL’s Shawn Starkenburg

LANL News:

Shawn Starkenburg, of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bioenergy and Biome Sciences group, will talk about how algae can be used for transportation fuels in the next installment of the Brown Bag Lecture series noon-1 p.m., Feb. 26 at the Bradbury Science Museum at 15th Street and Central Avenue.

Single-celled algae have been targeted for commercial applications due to their ability to efficiently accumulate biomass and long chain carbon molecules for conversion to renewable transportation fuels and other useful bioproducts. Although two billion years of evolution has generated a diverse pool of algae species that hold promise as biofuel feedstocks, the perfect “production strain” remains elusive.

The talk, titled “New Jobs for Our Oldest (and Smallest!) Workforce” will examine the core principles of algal biology and how it is leveraged to generate transportation fuels. It will also look at adaptive evolution strategies that New Mexico scientists are using to ‘train’ algal production candidates to grow and thrive in prototype production ponds in southern New Mexico.

Brown bag lectures at the museum are free and attendees can bring their lunch.

For more information on the Brown Bag Lecture Series, call Jessica Privette at 505.667.0375.

About the Speaker

Starkenburg holds a doctoral degree in Microbiology from Oregon State University and has been working in the field of environmental microbiology for the last decade. 

Since 2010, Starkenburg has been collaborating with other scientists from the Laboratory, the New Mexico Consortium and New Mexico State University to improve the efficiency of biofuel production from algae.  To this end, he has been studying the genomes and transcriptomes of select algae to gain insight into their physiology and the molecular mechanisms of lipid production.

About the Bradbury Science Museum

Mensa, an internationally recognized high-IQ society, named the Bradbury Science museum as one of the top 10 “Favorite Science Museums.”

All events at the Bradbury Science Museum are free and open to the public. Bradbury Science Museum is at 1350 Central Ave., in downtown Los Alamos. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday and Monday.