Research Interests

My primary research interests lie in acquiring and developing molecular tools and methods to genetically engineer algae with targeted manipulation of biochemical pathways. The general aim of my work is to study the possibility of engineering novel or more efficient biosynthetic pathways in algal species.

Currently I am working on methods to transform the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium microadriaticum with exogenous genes and gene knock-outs/knock-downs in order to facilitate further work on the molecular determinants of Symbiodinium-Anemone symbiosis, particularly on the question of nutrient exchange between these two organisms. 

Selected Publications

  • A look at diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGATs) in algae
    J. E. Chen, A. G. Smith
    Journal of Biotechnology, Volume 162, Issue 1, 30 November , Pages 2839, (2012)
  • Independent and Parallel Recruitment of Preexisting Mechanisms Underlying C4 Photosynthesis
    N. J. Brown, C. A. Newell, S. Stanley, J. E. Chen, A. J. Perrin, K. Kajala, J. M. Hibberd
    Science, Vol. 331, no. 6023, 18 March , pp. 1436-1439, (2011)

Education Profile

  • ​Ph.D., Plant Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2014
  • B. A., Natural Sciences ,Biological, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2010


Professional Profile

  • ​2014 - present: Postdoctoral fellow, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

Scientific and Professional Memberships

  • ​Cambridge Philosophical Society

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
  • Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE)