Robert Jinkerson

Robert Jinkerson Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Chemical & Environmental Engineering

Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines, Applied Chemistry, 2014

Research Areas

Biotechnology and Biomolecular Engineering

Contact Information

Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

We are broadly interested in photosynthetic organisms, such as algae and plants. These photosynthetic organisms have huge economic and environmental importance. Our research aims to make fundamental discoveries about the biology of these organisms and then use this knowledge to engineer solutions to problems in the fields of energy, food, and the environment.

Current topics of research in the lab include:

  1. Metabolic engineering algae to increase production of bioproducts and biofuels.
  2. Functional genomics in the green lineage using Chlamydomonas
  3. Discovering the molecular mechanisms that govern coral-algal symbiosis and how these influence coral bleaching

Additional topics we like to think about and explore in the lab include:

  • The evolution of algal endosymbiotic relationships, such the chloroplast.
  • What will agriculture look like in 100 years? 1000 years? How can we engineer plants to produce the food we need in systems that are completely orthogonal to our current agricultural practices, such as on a spaceship or in another built environment?
  • If plants can be reduced to single cells (plant cell cultures) can we treat them like other microbes (such as algae) and subject them to high-throughput methods?

Topics: algae, plants, synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, systems biology (genomics, transcriptomics, lipidomics), microbiology, bioinformatics, evolution, symbiosis, coral


Google Scholar Page


LSRF Fellowship sponsored by the Simons Foundation, 2014
NSF GRFP, 2010
McNair Scholar, 2006