Systems biology and phenomics principles

My PhD research employs systems biology and phenomics principles to build datasets that expand our understanding of gas fermentation in an industrially relevant manner. The Marcellin Group has and continues to focus on analysis of the model acetogen Clostridium autoethanogenum, which LanzaTech utilises at industrial scale. Current interests in reducing global CO2 levels and encouraging theoretical efficiencies have encouraged us to investigate this biological system as a potential CO2 recycling platform. Other research interests include identifying genes that are essential for desirable phenotypes, and methods for manipulation of those genes to enhance the phenotype. 

Graduated in Chemical and Process Engineering (minor in Bioprocess Engineering) with first-class honours from the University of Canterbury (UC; Christchurch, New Zealand) in 2017. My final year projects covered recycling waste-gas from anaerobic digesters and chromatography of unclarified liquids with a 3D-printed porous medium. Also, I had a small collaboration on a project working towards complex fluid analysis using Lab-on-a-chip technology. 

Key publications: 

Heffernan, J. K., Valgepea, K., Souza, R. De, Lemgruber, P., Casini, I., Plan, M., et al. (2020). Enhancing CO₂-valorization using Clostridium autoethanogenum for sustainable fuel and chemicals production. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 8, 1–10. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.00204. 

Featured projects Duration
Biological Gas to liquid for Chemicals and fuels