ISB News

Drs. Monica Orellana and Nitin Baliga

New Study May Provide Knowledge for Increased Biofuel Production from Unicellular Algae

With potential ramifications for increasing biofuel production from unicellular algae, ISB’s Drs. Mónica Orellana and Nitin Baliga, along with colleagues from the University of the Witwatersrand, used the chlorophyte algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to demonstrate the cell’s metabolic and physiological changes of lipid accumulation that occurs during nitrogen depletion.

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Exploring the Invisible Forest

Gallery above: Dr. Anne Thompson and research assistant Allison Lee traveled to Station ALOHA in Hawaii on a research cruise to collect water samples and various species of organisms. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OCE-1558924.   What’s the “invisible forest” and what does it have to do with environmental research? Dr. Anne Thompson who was in the Baliga Lab at…

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Learning From Microalgae as ‘Biofactories’

In a newly published research, members of the Baliga and Price labs share discoveries from their studies of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii – Chlamy for short. Excerpt: To the casual observer, algae may appear to be a nuisance. But for researchers, photosynthetic microalgae and other microbes have the potential to become sustainable biofactories that can economically produce renewable biofuels and a wide variety of other valuable commodities. One such group of microalgae…

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Genetic Switch May Help Marine Microalgae Respond to Higher CO2 Levels

3 Bullets Rapid climate change, including ocean acidification caused by increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, is predicted to affect the oceans, sea life, and the global carbon cycle. Marine microalgae, including diatoms, are responsible for converting CO2 into oxygen and biologically usable carbon through photosynthesis. How these organisms will respond over the short and long term to rising CO2 is unknown. Growth experiments and transcriptomic analyses performed by UW and…

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ISB’s Women in Oceanography

Photos above: (Left) Anne Thompson and (right) Mόnica Orellana as featured in “Women in Oceanography: A Decade Later.” BY ISBUSA Two of ISB’s senior research scientists are featured in the second edition of “Women in Oceanography.” Dr. Mόnica Orellana and Dr. Anne Thompson, both of the Baliga Lab, share their stories about what inspired their careers in oceanography and some of their thoughts about working in the field. The inaugural issue…

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4 Minutes of Green Gold: Watch Algae Grow

There’s something calming about watching algae grow. What you see in the tubes are two types of algae: Thalassiosira pseudonana or “Thaps” is the brown diatom. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii or “Chlamy” is the green algae. We use Thaps to study ocean acidification and Chlamy is for studying biofuel production.

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Cover image for ISB's 2013 Annual Report.

ISB’s 2013 Annual Report is Now Available

Institute for Systems Biology has a dizzying breadth of research projects. But when we talk about what we do, it’s how we do it that matters most. The systems approach that we pioneered and exemplify continues to distinguish our ability to tackle the most complex biological and environmental challenges today. Because of how we apply our hallmark collaborative, cross-disciplinary and integrative approach, our collective success is greater than the sum…

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ISB in Antarctica: Researcher Receives Medal

Allison Lee, who traveled to Antarctica this spring aboard a research cruise on an icebreaker in the Ross Sea, just received an Antarctic Service Medal for her participation. The medal was created by Congress and presented by the National Science Foundation to those who serve on a U.S. expedition to Antarctica. Allison is a member of the Nitin Baliga Lab and has been working closely with senior research scientist Mónica Orellana,…

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ISB Recieves $1.8M Grant for Ocean Acidification Research

Congratulations to Dr. Mónica Orellana and Dr. Nitin Baliga on their new grant for $1.8 million from the National Science Foundation. The project title is “Ocean Acidification: A Systems Biology Approach to Characterize Diatom Response to Ocean Acidification and Climate Change.” Abstract from the proposal: Diatoms account for approximately 40 percent of primary production in the world’s oceans and are the most productive marine phytoplankton group. They form the basis…

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ISB in Antarctica: Pancake Ice & Algae Snot

This pancake ice is unreal! The brown water is all algae (phytoplankton), which is what I study. I look at the mucous (or microgels) that the algae produce. Scientists suspect that microgels make up about 10 percent of the carbon that exists as dissolved organic matter in the oceans. You also can see how the Katabatic winds (about 70 mph) lift the sea spray off the waves. (All photos by…

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ISB in Antarctica: Algae Samples

It’s not all about water. Studying the cycle of carbon in the sea is a huge undertaking. There are so many parts to look at all the way from the sea surface to the deepest depths. The Ross Sea ranges from about 500 to 1,200 meters deep. Scientists on board want a closer look at the sea’s bottom. We have cameras that are able to take photos of the sea…

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ISB in Antarctica

There have been many stories in the news about research projects in Antarctica. Most projects are related to the climate and environment, or to how organisms survive in such extreme conditions. On Feb. 6, for example, the New York Times published a report about the Wissard (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) project, which involves looking for a microbial community in the lake located half a mile under the…

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ISB in Antarctica: An Epic Journey Begins

LAB NOTEBOOK By Allison Lee, ISB Research Associate In a collaborative research effort, chief scientist Dennis Hansell invited four co-chief scientists (Alexander Bochdansky, Jack DiTullio, Rob Dunbar, and ISB’s Mónica Orellana) to be part of a grant looking at the origination, utilization, and movement of carbon in the oceans, specifically the Ross Sea. The National Science Foundation funded the grant and it has been dubbed TRACERS which encompasses the objective…

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ISB and Algae Biofuel

On Nov. 1, ISB and San Diego-based Sapphire Energy announced a strategic partnership to apply systems biology to algae with the goal of significantly increasing oil yield and improving resistance to crop predators and environmental factors in order to further the advancement of commercialized algae biofuel production. “Together, we have complementary expertise that will allow us to understand, reverse engineer and rationally alter the gene networks for fuel production in…

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How Systems Biology Can Help Improve ‘Green Crude’ – aka Algae Fuel

Sapphire Energy and ISB today announced a partnership that will lead to exciting discoveries in commercial algae fuel production. You can read the release here. But to hear directly from Dr. Nitin Baliga, who is ISB's Director for Integrative Biology, on why this partnership is unique, watch this short interview.

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