Dr Umarah MUBEEN (Pakistan)

Understanding of the growth signalling in the model green alga can pave the ways to design and regulate the cellular metabolism for efficient utilisation of microalgae as photosynthetic factories. Umarah is currently exploring how signal transduction governs the growth and metabolism in the green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher at Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPIMP), Germany

Research focus: regulation of cellular growth signalling in Chlamydomonas

Umarah received a fellowship from the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) to continue her research as doctoral student and pursued her work in the field of experimental systems biology. In recognition to her doctoral work at MPIMP, lately, she received the Jeff Schell Award 2019.

CV as submitted for the Green Talents award (2013):

Forman Christian College, Pakistan

Research focus: microalgae species capable of providing high-energy biomass

One day, Umarah Mubeen looked into her microscope and had a Eureka moment. She discovered that the answer to alternative and sustainable energy was in front her all along: microalgae.

Umarah Mubeen started her academic career studying Botany, Zoology and Chemistry in Pakistan, but it was Botany which won her over. She completed her undergraduate degree in this field and eventually decided to pursue an MPhil in Industrial Biotechnology. She is now completing her PhD in Biotechnology – or, more specifically, in the field of ‘microalgae biofuels’.

At first glance, microalgae – green organisms that form scum, usually found on places offering light and water – is in many respects an unconventional and odd research object. Not to Mubeen. She quickly discovered its advantages and uniqueness for the production of biofuels.

Biofuels production from microalgae not only offers a renewable energy source but also provides environmental benefits, via “carbon capturing”. Having many times greater photosynthetic efficiencies compared to higher plants, microalgae could serve as natural photosynthetic factories for additional benefits.

“Though the idea seems to be simple and sustainable, the ultimate target is to develop an efficient and economical process for obtaining clean sustainable energy from natural resources. This requires us to decipher certain other mechanisms,” Mubeen explains.

Currently a lecturer at Forman Christian College, Mubeen has already published five papers, and has participated in numerous conferences, seminars and training workshops, proving once again an important aspect of scientific research: the devil is in the details.

The Green Talents jury noted Mubeen’s excellent academic profile and her outstanding record of publications. From the viewpoint of sustainability research her research approach is very promising as microalgal biofuels enable a new renewable energy source as well as positive climatic effects via carbon capturing.