Date & Time

Wed, 07/07/2010


This forum explored the following questions with regards to petroleum and the availability of alternate energy sources:

  • What are the hurdles to changing to new types of fuel and energy?
  • Who should bear the costs for finding and developing alternative energy sources?
  • Who should benefit from the profits of successfully developing new sources?



Our Flickr page: “Will we be ready when the petroleum runs out?”


Stephen Mayfield
UCSD, San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology

Stephen Mayfield is director of the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, and the John Doves Isaacs Chair of Natural Philosophy at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the molecular genetics of green algae, and on the recombinant production of therapeutic proteins and biofuel molecules using algae as a production platform. As an assistant professor at the Scripps Research Institute Steve was the first person to achieve transformation of the C. reinhardtii nuclear genome, work that allowed this algae to become the dominant genetic organisms for the study of photosynthesis and gene function. Over the last ten years work from the lab has identified mechanisms of chloroplast gene expression that has allowed for development of recombinant protein expression in algal chloroplast. Steve’s lab was the first to show high levels of recombinant protein expression in algae, setting the stage for the use of algae as a platform for therapeutic protein production, including the expression of a human monoclonal antibody. These studies resulted in the founding of Rincon Pharmaceutical, a startup company based on the low cost production of human therapeutics using eukaryotic algae as an expression platform. Recent studies from the lab have shown the potential of engineering algae for the production of superior biofuel molecules as a source of renewal energy. Steve was also a scientific founder of Sapphire Energy, a company developing biofuel production by metabolic engineering of algae and photosynthetic bacteria. Steve is the head of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Sapphire Energy.

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