Lamya Al-Haj

Lamya Al-Haj

PhD student BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology and Chemistry (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)

Master of Science & Technology in Environmental Science (University of New South Wales, Australia)

Lecturer at the Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Email: lamya.haj.09[at]ucl.ac.uk

Research interests

Biofuels from cyanobacteria

The world is currently facing the considerable challenge of supplementing, and ultimately replacing, its fossil fuel-based economy with one based on clean energy technologies. A major focus in this effort is the development of liquid biofuels suitable for use in internal combustion engines, and a potential source of these biofuels is fast-growing microalgae and cyanobacteria. My research project will employ synthetic biology approaches to modify the metabolism of a cyanobacterium such that the organism is able to synthesise significant quantities of novel, energy-rich hydrocarbons. These different compounds will be evaluated in a test engine for their performance as fuels. Such tests will include the measurement of injection and combustion parameters, and exhaust composition. The research will therefore involve a combination of algal microbiology, molecular biology techniques including genetic engineering, extraction and gas chromatography-based analysis of hydrocarbons, and a battery of analytical tests relating to fuel performance in the test engine.