Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Plant Metabolism Group,
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Dr Elena Kazamia's current research centres on a cyanobacterial species, which has been engineered to produce ethanol. The organism channels some of the products of its photosynthesis into ethanol production, in effect producing ethanol “directly from sunlight”, in contrast to traditional fermentation approaches which require a sugar substrate. Elena’s aim is to apply the principles of “synthetic ecology”, which she developed during her doctoral research working with Prof Alison Smith, to increase the species' productivity. Synthetic ecology proposes that communities of microorganisms can be more productive and can provide a wider range of biotechnological products than microbes grown in monocultures. Such communities can be assembled de novo using transferable building blocks, using a similar rationale to synthetic biology.
She has a broad interest in environmental sustainability issues, having received a MSc degree in Conservation from University College London. She feels passionate about evidence-based policy making. In 2012 she completed a secondment to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST - a body within the Houses of Parliament), where she wrote a parliamentary briefing on the subject of Bioenergy.