UCL Division of Biosciences


Purton Lab Algal Biology and Biotechnology


Lydia Mapstone

Lydia Mapstone

PhD Student

Bsc (Hons) in Biological Sciences (University of Bristol)

MSc in Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology (University of Edinburgh)

Email: lydia.mapstone.17@ucl.ac.uk


Research interests

Sustainable life support for Martian and lunar exploration: genetic engineering and extra-terrestrial cultivation of the edible cyanobacterium Arthrospira platensis

Long haul space missions to Mars have been predicted to occur within the next twenty years. Despite the rapid technological advances in rocket design and robotics, a robust solution to provide enough food for such a trip is yet to be reached.

My PhD aims to uncover the potential for cultivating Arthrospira platensis - often referred to as 'Spirulina', as a potential food source for when we arrive on the planet. Half my research involves simulating Spirulina growth under Martian conditions, and the other half focuses on the genetic enhancements which could make this species more suitable for space travel and colonisation.