Research Team

Dr. Jags Pandhal

Principle Investigator

I am a biological engineer with a passion for interpreting the complexities of natural systems into engineering solutions.

Mahendra Raut


I have an Masters degree in Microbiology and a PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering. My specific area of expertise is in anaerobic microbiology, particularly the application of a systems approach for lignocellulosic biofuel generation.
My current project is “ABE fermentation of hydrolysates derived from heavy metal polluted waste wood after ionoSolv™ fractionation and steam explosion”; dealing with wood-waste derived sugars fermentation to the value added products using the bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum.

Josie McQuillan

PhD student

My research is focussed on developing and applying tools to genetically engineer microalgae (primarily Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) for high-value product synthesis, and to further improve these organisms as chassis for industrial biotechnology. I am also interested in combining -omics techniques to identify and target areas of C. reinhardtii metabolism to manipulate with the aim of enhancing biochemical production.

Alaa Hassan Al-Fartoosy

PhD student

We are increasingly contaminating our planet with organophosphorus compounds, which are used as pesticides and chemical warfare agents. My project aims to treat contaminated soils via the isolation of bacterial strains and increasing their ability to utilise the chemo-pollutant through adaptation and cell engineering, in order to achieve the complete degradation (biomineralisation).

Hannah Leflay

PhD student (co-supervised by Jags)

My project looks at the potential use of microalgae for carbon capture and utilisation or storage (CCUS); a group of technologies required to meet the carbon emission reductions needed for the 2 °C scenario. My project focuses on optimising the CO2 removal from industrial flue gases while reducing the costs associated with the process.  I will be using experimental data for techno-economic assessments of algal-CCUS compared to other baseline technologies.

Emanga Alobwede

PhD student

I am a researcher in food security – with a particular interest in creating algae-based biofertilisers from algae harvested from nutrient rich water bodies. The central thrust of my research project is to gain mechanistic insight into the impacts of phylogenetically diverse algae on nutrient cycling and the physicochemical characteristic on arable soil.

Joanna Harley

PhD student

My project aims to engineer a microalgal-bacterial consortium capable of removing a cocktail of volatile organic compounds from flue gas from municipal “green” waste. I am interested in the functionality of the consortium in terms of its metaproteome, and how it can be manipulated to produce off gases that meet requirements for growing high value plant crops.

Twitter: @joannaharleysci

Fikayo Adepoju

PhD Student

With a particular interest in microbial enzymes and its vast potential for use in industry, my research aims to evaluate the effect of the post-translational modification - glycosylation on enzymes produced in a microbial based heterologous expression system.

Wan Aizuddin Wan Razali

PhD student

My project is focused on maximising long chain fatty acids synthesis in marine oleaginous microalgae cells especially Nannochloropsis sp. by manipulating different environmental growth factors and the genome

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Sebastiana (Nella) Roccuzzo

PhD student

My research’s focus was on incorporating key ecological principles of microbial communities into engineering practice for microalgae cultivation and harvesting. Specifically, I have revealed mechanistic detail about the way the algal grazer Daphnia (water fleas) induce defences in algae species, such as aggregation and colony formation. While interesting from an ecological perspective, these processes are vital to harvesting algae, a major engineering issue

Kasia Emery

Research Technician

I worked on a NERC sponsored project to create an algal-bacterial consortia that could simultaneously break down landfill leachate whilst recovering specified resources. I am now starting a PhD to further my passion for research

Rahul Kapoore


My research in Sheffield focused on developing an optimised workflow for algal cultivation, co-culture techniques, microbial consortia, microalgal biotechnology (biorefinery), info-chemicals characterisation, microalgal biosurfactants and bioemulsifiers, phycoremediation, metabolomics, proteomics and lipidomics. Now I am based at the University of Swansea, still working with microalgae within a large consortium grant.


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