Elliot is a 3rd year PhD student who’s research currently focuses on the physiological responses of phytoplankton to ultraviolet radiation. Specifically, he aims to understand the physiological and ecological importance of mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) in phytoplankton. MAAs are a variety of highly UV absorbent small molecules synthesized by phytoplankton and fungi that are ubiquitous in the global ocean. This work utilizes the heterologous expression of small molecules in model cyanobacteria and diatoms, as well as field surveys of MAA distributions.

Elliot received a B.S. in Biology from UCSD, and a MS from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in Marine Biology. Prior to beginning his PhD, Elliot worked as a technician at SIO and participated in five Antarctic field expeditions and two Arctic expeditions, studying the photo-physiology of phytoplankton populations.

Research Interests:

  • Effects of light availability and UV radiation on phytoplankton photo-physiology and ecology
  • Biosynthesis and heterologous expression of mycosporine-like amino acids