Ms Julanie Stapelberg
I am currently an MSc student in the Biotechnology programme at the University of Pretoria with a research project based at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). My MSc is focused on the “development of an heterologous expression platform in indigenous South African algae” whereby I aim to screen, cultured indigenous South African algae isolates based on their growth rate, growth conditions and morphological characteristics. I will then also identify the green microalgal isolates through morphology and molecular techniques as well perform nuclear transformation on selected algal isolates.
I obtained my BSc degree in Genetics at the University of Pretoria and then continued with my honours in Plant Sciences specialising in Biotechnology. My honours project included “the effect of natural tyrosinase inhibitors from plant extracts on tyrosinase gene expression”, which incorporated Plant Sciences, Genetics and Phytomedicine. This project studied the effect of novel African plant extracts on the gene expression of melanoma cells to prevent hyperpigmentation and its related ailments. Whilst doing my research I got incredibly interested in the production of secondary metabolites through plant cell tissue culture in bioreactors. I then further researched the use of green microalgae as a plant-based mechanism for protein production.