Research interest of SCBE
Microalgae, with an estimate of almost one million species, are of great ecological importance, as they contribute almost half of the global organic carbon fixation. They provide a variety of natural products to support ecosystems (e.g., coral reef ecosystem) by photosynthesis with efficiencies approximately three times greater than those achieved by land plants. Domesticated microalgae hold great promise for the sustainable provision of various bioresources for human domestic and industrial consumption.
The main interest of SCBE is the evolution, function, and editing of microalgal genomes and design of synthetic biology using microalgae as chassis, including (1) Characterization and engineering crucial biological process and value-added chemical in microalgae (Lu et al., 2021 Nat Comm); (2) Development and application of synthetic biology in cell factory design for medical, industrial, and agriculture ends (Lu et al., 2021 Cri Rev Biotech); (3) Strategy development for heavy-metal remediation approach using microalgae and other microbes (Gan et al., 2017 Adv Sci; Ahmad et al., 2019 J Harzard Mat).
Efforts of our first aim is to shed light on the know-how of the microalgae, the most interesting but far from being fully realized group. The next aim is to exploit their potential as cell factory to produce commodity and specialty chemicals to meet medical, industrial, and agricultural demands. For example, one of our projects is to produce medical peptides for human health. We also study on alga-based growth-promoting chemicals for crops.
People all over the world know China is developing in a fast track. Development is good for mankind, but all the aspects need to be looked after. Increase of CO2 and heavy metal pollution are two examples. It has become a global issue in the recent years as it affects public health. Since the establishment of the Hainan Free Trade Zone, a high standard for environment is required for this island. Therefore, one of our aim is to study on how to restore environmental pollution using these tiny little single cells. Application of microalgae for CO2 capture and carbon neutralism, study on the interaction between microalgae and heavy metals, and the application of such findings in environmental restoration. Our overall aim is to apply the single-cell bioengineering technology for medical, agricultural, and environmental ends and contribute our efforts to the development of world.