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Current Lab Members

Postdoctoral Scholars

Sophie Clowez (2015-Present)

Sophie is working with the alga Symbiodinium, which populates corals and other cnidarians, and is essential for sustaining the coral reef ecosystem. In this project, she is applying her expertise in biophysics of photosynthesis to determine how light and temperature impact photosynthetic electron flow and carbon dioxide fixation in both the free living alga and the alga as an endosymbiont. Sophie obtained her PhD in Biophysics at the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique in Paris, under the supervision of Dr. Fabrice Rappaport. During her PhD she studied the functional consequences of supramolecular organization of photosynthetic complexes and the switching between linear and cyclic electron transfer in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtiiShe investigated the relationship between redox state and photosynthetic function of various strains of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Outside of the laboratory, she has been practicing tango (for many years), enjoys cooking and making her own clothing. 

Adam Idoine (2014-Present)

Adam is working with Chlorella ohadii, a very fast-growing alga that was isolated from the desert crust. He is developing a molecular biology toolkit to help elucidate the biology of this extremely high-light tolerant organism with one goal of exploring its potential for biotechnology, including biofuel production. When he is not in the lab, he enjoys climbing, hiking and watching movies.

Yuval Kaye (2014-Present)

Yuval is working on the regulation of fermentation metabolism and the acclimation of photosynthetic organisms to stressful environmental conditions. His research is focused on identifying and characterizing processes responsible for partitioning energy between chloroplasts and mitochondria in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. He obtained his PhD in Plant Biology from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. He also was a postdoctoral fellow in the Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory at Ben-Gurion University and received a Young Scientist Recruitment Program Postdoctoral Fellowship from the BGU to come to the Grossman Laboratory.

Shai Saroussi  (2013-Present)

Shai is working on the dynamics and activity of photosynthetic complexes during the acclimation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to various environmental conditions. He obtained his PhD in biochemistry from Tel Aviv University in Israel under the supervision of Dr. Nathan Nelson. He received a prestigious Vaddia-BARD Postdoctoral Fellowship from US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund to develop his postdoctoral project at the Carnegie Institution. Recently, he discovered that the type II NADPH dyhydrogenase is critical for balancing electron flow between energy dissipating and energy generating pathways during acclimation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to photoautropic nitrogen deprivation.

 Tingting Xiang (2011-Present)

Tingting is working on dissecting the physiology, and cellular and biology of coral bleaching. She uses the Aiptasia-Symbiodinium model system in which the dinoflagellate Symbiondinium is introduced into clonal populations of the small sea anemone Aiptasia pallida. Aiptasia is a cnidaria, like corals, and can be rapidly populated by Symbiodinium. She has also been examining the molecular adjustments made by Sumbiodinium as it transitions from a photoautotroph to a photoheterotroph. Tingting obtained her PhD from the National Institute of Biological Science, Beijing. During her PhD, she investigated mechanisms by which pathogenic bacteria elicit disease responses in plants.

Ru Zhang  (2014-Present)

Ru has been working with the green amoeba Paulinella chromatophora to study plastid evolution. It is thought by many that all eukaryotic plastids can be traced back to a single endosymbiotic event in which a eukaryotic protist engulfed a cyanobacterium. This event occurred more than one billion years ago. A similar engulfment and retention of a cyanobacterial endosymbiont also occurred between 60 and 200 million years ago, yielding the green protist P. chromatophora. This organism has photosynthetic organelles called 'chromatophores', which are derived from an alpha cyanobacterial ancestor. Ru recent work has shown that the transfer of the high-light-inducible (hli) family of genes from the chromatophore to the host nuclear genome, and that many of these genes in this family are still regulated by light intensity and quality.

Emanuel Sanz-Luque  (2016-Present)

Emanuel is working on signaling molecules and proteins involved in the acclimation of photosynthetic organisms to nutrient deprivation, and more specifically how Chlamydomonas reinhardtii responds to sulfur and nitrogen deprivation. He is also interested in cross-talk between photosynthesis and nutrient assimilation. Emanuel obtained his PhD in Universidad de Cordoba, under the supervision of Dr. Emilio Fernandez and Dr. Aurora Galvan. During his PhD, he studied the mechanisms that regulate the nitrate assimilation pathway in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In addition to his interests in sensing and signaling in photosynthetic organisms, Emanuel enjoys mountain biking, playing racket sports, watching movies and spending time with family and friends.

Graduate Students

Yirang Cho (2016-Present)

Yirang is working on the assembly and regulation of photosynthetic apparatus in the green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. She obtained her MS in Marine microbial ecology from Seoul National University. During her MS, she worked as a research scientist in the Korea Polar Research Institute on the dynamics of bacterial and viral diversity and their distribution as affected by ice shelf melting in the Amundsen Sea, Western Antarctica. Yirang has a general interest in assembly and regulatory process associated with the photosynthetic apparatus under different environment conditions. In her free time, Yirang practices and performs Korean traditional drumming (percussion). She also likes reading books and watching Japanese animations.

Rick is working on understanding of how Chlamydomonas reinhardtii deals with oxidative damage, and is especially interested in oxygen-sensitivity of components of the photosynthetic apparatus. He is investigating how Photosystem I (PSI) is assembled, which involves incorporation of three oxygen-sensitive iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters. He is working toward identifying oxygen sensitive complexes in the cell (especially, complexes that are sensitive to oxygen as they assemble) and how the cell maintains the stability of these complexes. Rick did his undergraduate studies in Seoul National University and was a recipient of a prestigious Stanford Graduate Fellowship (SGF) for his graduate studies. When he is not in the lab, he enjoys meeting friends as well as taking care of his daughter.

Champ is working towards monitoring the dynamics of photosynthetic complexes within the thylakoid membranes in real time, both Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and spinach. This analysis is potentially enabled by a nano-scale surface imaging technique called 'Atomic Force Microscopy', which can be used to probe membranes immersed in an aqueous environment. Champ is also co-advised by Dr. Fritz Prinz in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University. Recently, Champ discovered the morphological distinction between the two protein domains within a monomer of photosystem II in spinach through liquid AFM imaging. Champ did his undergraduate studies in Kasetsart University, Bangkok and received a scholarship from the Royal Thai Government for his graduate studies. When away from the lab, he is interested in technology and entrepreneurship stemming from scientific discoveries. He also enjoys listening to classical music and social evenings with friends.

Ana Benveniste (2016-Present)

Ana is working on the GreenCut (informatic grouping of proteins present in the green lineage of organisms) and nutrients deprivation with Shai Saroussi. Prior to her internship in the Grossman Laboratory, she worked on biomass production by the microalga Scencedesmus obliquus and analyzed molecular aspects of other photosynthetic organisms at the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, University of California, San Diego. Ana is also interested in microalgal biofuels.

Sarah Fajon (2015-Present)

Sarah is working on editing the genome of Chlorella ohadii with Adam and planning to test this possibility with other algae. She is also genotyping mutants from the library of Martin Jonika with Emanuel. In the summer 2015, Sarah worked with Munevver Aksoy, then in the Grossman laboratory, on nutrient deprivation responses in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Her internship is a part of her MS program in molecular biology and green chemistry at the Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique, Toulouse. Outside of the laboratory Sarah likes dancing. She took Rock'n Roll lessons a few years ago and is now learning Salsa. She also enjoys reading books.