Dr. Philippidis visits Aristotle University in Greece to work on an Algae project

qDr. George Philippidis, PCGS’ Associate Dean for Research, recently received an award from the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program, which is sponsored by the Niarchos Foundation and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) which manages the prestigious Fulbright program. The award makes possible research collaboration between researchers at USF and at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) in Greece. The focus of the collaboration is the development of advanced algae strains for the production of high-value nutraceuticals using random mutagenesis.

 The AUTh team is headed by Prof. Christos Chatzidoukas whose team specializes in the production of astaxanthin from algae. Astaxanthin is a red pigment (a member of the carotenoid family) with antioxidant properties and possible immune system benefits for human health. The joint project employs mutagenesis techniques optimized at Dr. Philippidis’ Biofuels & Bioproducts Lab to generate high-producing mutants of Haematococcus Pluvialis, which is of industrial interest for sustainable manufacturing of astaxanthin and other renewable bioproducts with a low carbon profile. The award sets the foundation for long-term research collaboration between USF and AUTh to promote joint publications, presentations, and proposals, along with the exchange of information between the two research groups. Florida and Greece enjoy climates that favor algae cultivation, so this collaboration intends to help commercialize algae technologies in the US and Greece with USF spearheading the effort as a leading US University in the field of algae development, scale-up, and commercialization.

 It should be noted that the two institutions recently renewed their general agreement for collaboration for a second 5-year period with USF being represented by PCGS under the leadership of Dean Govindan Parayil.