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Algae represent a group of highly diverse photosynthetic organisms that have been receiving increasing scientific and commercial interest. They possess high photosynthetic ability (over 10 times than higher plants) and many are capable of growing robustly under mixotrophic and heterotrophic conditions as well. Algae have long been considered as a source of protein and are now industrially produced for human food and animal feed. The exploration of bioactive compounds from algae is also underway. Algae are also rich in oil, an ideal feedstock for biofuels, and have received unprecedented research interest in the past decades. The ability to efficiently fix carbon dioxide and to remove nutrients of nitrogen and phosphorous makes algae a good candidate for greenhouse gas bio-mitigation and wastewater bioremediation. In addition, algae show potential as an alternative expression host for recombinant protein production, though challenges remain to be addressed. Currently, algal omics analyses are being underway, which will help to unravel the biological implications of algae and facilitate the future exploration of industrial applications.

Laboratory for Algae Biotechnology & Innovation (LABI) is a multidisciplinary laboratory denoted to unveil the secrets of algae for basic research and applied applications by means of the state-of-the-art technologies. The LABI PI, Dr. Jin LIU, joined Peking University in 2015 as National youth Thousand Talents Program Fellow. He received a BSc in biology and an MSc in biochemistry and molecular biology from Sun Yat-sen University, and a PhD in algal biotechnology from The University of Hong Kong. Dr. Liu worked in world top laboratories on plants and microalgae over ten years, and his particular areas of expertise include molecular biology, genetic engineering, biotechnology, transcriptomics, algal physiology and mass culture, algal biofuels and high-value products, etc.