Mapping the path forward to next generation algal technologies: Workshop on understanding the rules of life and complexity in algal systems

Junneng Wen, Kent Rapp, Lukas Dahlin, Chien-Ting Li, Jacob Sebesta, Amanda Barry, Michael Guarnieri, Christie Peebles, Michael Betenbaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Algal technology offers enormous potential as a source of renewable biomass and bioproducts for fuels, biochemicals, nutrients, and numerous other applications. While tremendous opportunities exist, significant challenges are also present in harnessing and utilizing this valuable and potentially sustainable bioproduction platform. Funded by a joint partnership between the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) at the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the recent virtual workshop, “Understanding the Rules of Life: Complexity in Algal Systems Workshop,” was organized to bring together thought leaders from academia, national laboratories and other government agencies, and industry to identify key challenges and propose research strategies to overcome these barriers. Two parallel sessions were undertaken: 1) algae strain and toolkit development and 2) algal ecosystem and microbiome dynamics, in order to advance algae engineering and cultivation efforts. In each session, attendees discussed the most pressing challenges from the perspective of model systems and omics analysis. Themes such as genetic engineering toolboxes, translation from the laboratory to outdoor cultivation, functional genomics, metabolomics, algal ecology, consortial design, microbiome dynamics, mathematical models, and data analytics emerged from the discussion. Overall, this workshop has served to elucidate the key hurdles and many opportunities present as we continue to advance algal science and technology from the laboratory and into the commercial realm.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number102520
Number of pages9
JournalAlgal Research
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-81525


  • Industrial biotechnology
  • Microbiome
  • Model systems
  • Omics
  • Synthetic biology


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