Principal Investigator

Matthew Posewitz

Dr. Posewitz is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Colorado School of Mines. He specializes in the areas of biochemistry, algal physiology, photosynthesis, and renewable energy technologies. He received a B.S. from Willamette University, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. He then went on to postdoctoral research at the University of Utah, and then the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center in New York City. In 1999, Dr. Posewitz began investigating algal biofuels technologies at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Fiona Bentley

Fiona’s research interests lie in the engineering of cyanobacteria to produce novel bio-products for use as renewable fuels or chemical feedstock. A major challenge is to understand how photosynthetic microorganisms regulate carbon partitioning between the major metabolic pathways within the cell. Fiona is employing metabolic engineering strategies to increase carbon partitioning toward biosynthetic pathways that lead to valuable bio-products, such as terpenoids and fatty acids. Fiona received her Ph.D. from the University of Otago in New Zealand, and completed Postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked on engineering cyanobacteria for the production of isoprene.

Sarah D’Adamo

Sarah joined Dr. Posewitz’s group as Postdoctoral Fellow after receiving her BS and MS in Industrial Biotechnology, along with her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, at University of Padova (Italy). Her research has focused on hydrogen metabolism and key enzymes in the fresh water alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and in hypersaline algae. Hydrogen is a potential clean and effective vector of energy and in the past 20 years a lot of efforts has been made to identify biological ways to produce it. Specifically, she is investigating C. reinhardtii: 1) hydrogenase and related coding gene knockouts (KOs) and 2) fermentation pathway gene KOs (i.e. for acetate, formate production), in order to obtain deeper understandings of hydrogen metabolism and to find a way of re-routing fermentative carbon metabolism to increase hydrogen production. Additionally, she is investigating hydrogen production from hypersaline systems (Tetraselmis sp.), which have been identified as good producers, being even more versatile for biotechnological approaches and valuable for commercial exploitation.

Wei Fang

Graduate Researchers

Huiya Gu

Robert Jinkerson

Robert is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow (NSF GRFP) in the Posewitz lab where his research has focused on metabolically engineering biological systems to produce value-added products such as biofuels and nutraceuticals. Specifically he has investigated re-routing native carbon metabolism in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to produce starch-less (lipid-excess) and starch-excess mutants, and then assessed these changes using systems biology tools such as transcriptomics and proteomics. Robert is also helping to develop Nannochloropsis gaditana as a new model oleaginous alga through genomic and transcriptomic sequencing and assembly and development of a ‘genetic toolbox’. Robert received his BS in Biological Engineering from the University of Missouri.

Hannah Lewis

Brian Vogler

Brian’s research currently focuses on developing methods and techniques for the genetic manipulation of Nannochloropsis gaditana, a promising species of oleaginous algae. He earned his BS in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. He then went on to earn a MS from Duke University, where he investigated cell-penetrating fusion proteins. Before joining us, he spent a year studying head and neck cancer under Dr. Antonio Jimeno at the Anschutz Medical Campus. Outside lab, he teaches STEM-focused lessons to classes in K-2 at Clayton Elementary in Englewood, CO. He is in his second year as a graduate student in the Chemistry Department at Mines, and looks forward to spending the next few years in the Denver/Golden area. Brian enjoys skiing in the winter, cycling in the summer, and live music all year round with his fiancé.

Victoria Work

Undergraduate Researchers

Former Members

  • Lee Elliott, PhD 2013
  • Matt Scholz, Post-Doc, currently at Arizona State Univ.
  • Lee Stanish, Post-Doc, currently at Univ. of Colorado
  • Dylan Franks, currently a graduate student at Oklahoma State Univ.
  • Tarryn Miller, currently a graduate student at Michigan State; Post Bac at LANL
  • Matthew Blain-Hartung, currently a graduate student at UC Davis
  • Ahriel Godoy
  • Randor Radakovits, Post-Doc, currently at Synthetic Genomics
  • Jonathan Meuser, PhD 2011, currently at Synthetic Genomics
  • Patrick Eduafo, MS 2011, currently a PhD student at CSM in Material Science
  • Dongxu (Tom) Li, currently an entrepreneur in China
  • Laura Beer, Post-Doc
  • Lauren E. Nagy, MS

Former Undergraduate Researchers


  • Hannah Blum
  • Jeff Chung
  • John Davis
  • Hannah Fanucchi
  • Orlando Martinez
  • Sarah Moore


  • Stephanie Ives
  • Michael Finger
  • Hannah Lewis
  • Ashely Moore
  • Hannah Schuster, currently a graduate student at Mines
  • Joe Watterson, head brewer at Golden City Brewery
  • Corey Wible
  • CJ Duran (C2B2 REU student from Colorado State Univ.)


  • Dylan Franks, currently a graduate student at Oklahoma State Univ.
  • Neil Lloyd, currently a graduate student at Univ. of Colorado
  • Gabe Rubinstein, currently a graduate student at Univ. of Georgia
  • Erin Stephens, currently a graduate student at Cornell Univ.
  • Travis Saari (C2B2 REU student from Michigan State Univ.)


  • Chris Gallahar
  • Josh Kast
  • Tom Giordano (C2B2 REU student from Rutgers)


  • Shelby Hollmaier
  • Jason Shao (C2B2 REU student from Univ of Wisconsin), currently grad student at University of Washington

Visiting Researchers

  • Stefania Basso, University of Padua, Italy