Lecture: Lipid metabolism in the green microalga Chlamydomonasreinhardtii

LectureLipid metabolism in the green microalga Chlamydomonasreinhardtii

LecturerYong-hua Li-Beisson  (CEA

Time9:00am, Nov. 20, 2019, Wednesday

Location205 Meeting Room, Administration Building 


Yong-hua Li-Beisson received a PhD in Biological Sciences from University of Hull, U.K. Dr. Li-Beisson was a Postdoctoral fellow at University of Oxford and at Michigan State University, where she made several discoveries about the biosynthesis of plant-specific lipid polyesters. She also coordinated a worldwide effort to catalog lipid genes and map lipid pathways in Arabidopsis, a widely accessible online resource (Aralip). Dr. Li-Beisson’s research focuses on uncovering the genes and pathways underlying lipid metabolism and using such knowledge to increase oil content and/or produce industrially important fatty acids. Current work focuses on dissecting lipid pathways and the interplay between these and other cellular metabolism in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii using a combination of forward/reverse genetic approaches and lipidomic analysis.

Dr. Li-Beisson’ representative work was published in Science, PNAS, Plant Cell, New Phytologist, Plant Physiology, Plant Journal etc, and she obtained several international patents in U.S and France. Dr. Li-Beisson edited the book “Lipids in Plant and Algae Development”and one Chapter (Acyl-lipid metabolism) of“Arabidopsis Book”. During the past years, she hosted several European and French National findings, such as National Funds for Distinguished Young Scientists in France (ANR, MUsCA, 2014-2018) and CEA Project (NannoControl, 2012-2015). Currently, she serves as a member of the editorial board for The Plant Cell, Plant Cell and Physiology, mSphere (then Eukaryotic Cell). She is the member of the scientific organizing committee for International Symposium on Plant Lipids (ISPL) and Euro Fed of Plant Lipids (ESPL), and she successfully organized ESPL in 2019.


Microalgae are fast-growing microorganisms that have developed efficient mechanisms to harvest and transform solar energy into energy-rich molecules such as lipids. They are thus potentially great renewable cell factories for production of fuels and biomaterials for the chemical industries. However, several biological as well as engineering challenges need to be addressed before the establishment of a profitable algal industrial biotechnology. The main goal of my laboratory is to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in the conversion of solar energy and atmospheric CO2 to energy-dense compounds such as oil and hydrocarbon. We assess the molecular limitations of these mechanisms and propose novel strategies for synthetic biology of microalgae. The further use of this knowledge will aid in the design and creation of strains for algal biotechnology. In this communication, I will present current projects and highlight major findings from our group.