UCL Division of Biosciences


Purton Lab Algal Biology and Biotechnology


Julanie Stapelberg

Julanie Stapelberg

PhD Student

Msc - Biotechnology, University of Pretoria and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa.

BSc (Honours)- Plant Biotechnology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Bsc- Dual Major Genetics and Plant Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Email: julanie.stapelberg.19@ucl.ac.uk


Research Interests

Synthetic Biology, microalgae as an expression platform for high-value recombinant proteins

Imagine a world with therapeutic medicines, plenty of protein-rich nutritious food, a clean and healthy environment… sounds like utopia doesn’t it? Well that’s what I would like to work towards.

The main hero in this story isn’t me, but microalgae. These tiny microorganisms use just sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to grow, rather inexpensively, to produce many valuable products. From food, pigments and fatty acids to its novel use as an expression platform for the production of recombinant proteins such as vaccines, enzymes, hormones, and other therapeutic proteins.

I travelled across the seas, from South Africa to London, to study microalgae at one of the best Microalgal Laboratories in the world. At the Purton group we are interested in utilising synthetic biology to genetically engineer the genomes of microalgae. I am currently working on a model green microalgae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and how we can develop its chloroplast for the synthesis of super-sweet proteins. My research interests include exploring design considerations required to maximise the production of recombinant proteins in the Chlamydomonas chloroplast.