Dr. Sarah Smith is a postdoctoral scholar in the Allen lab studying diatom gene regulatory networks. Sarah completed her BS in Biology at Santa Clara University and her MS in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She then moved to San Diego to complete her PhD in Marine Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Sarah’s PhD work focused on the molecular regulation of carbon and energy metabolism in the model diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana.

Research Interests:

Diatom evolution and functional genomics

Molecular physiology

Eukaryotic gene regulation

Photosynthetic carbon metabolism

Sarah’s research is motivated by the desire to understand the evolution and ecology of marine phytoplankton. Diatoms have emerged as an excellent group of model organisms for molecular oceanographic research. Her current research uses a combination of comparative and functional genomics approaches to explore both the evolution and molecular mechanisms of physiological regulation in diatoms. More specifically, she is investigating the architecture of gene regulatory networks in Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Ultimately insights from these studies will not only inform our understanding of the evolution of these important organisms and aid in the interpretation of functional genomics data in the lab and field, but will eventually guide efforts to engineer algae as a feedstock for the cultivation of renewable bioproducts such as sustainable biofuels.


Selected Publications:

Smith SR, CG Glé, RM Abbriano Burke, JC Traller, AK Davis, EM Trentacoste, M Vernet, AE Allen, M Hildebrand (In review) Transcript level coordination of carbon pathways during silicon-starvation induced lipid accumulation in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. New Phytol

Keeling PJ, F Burki, HM Wilcox, B Allam, EE Allen, LA Amaral-Zettler, EV Armbrust, JM Archibald, AK Bharti, CJ Bell, et al. incl. SR Smith (2014) Marine Microbial Eukaryote Transcriptome Sequencing Projecte (MMETSP): Illuminating the functional diversity of eukaryotic life in the oceans through transcriptome sequencing. PLOS Biol 12: e1001889

Trentacoste EM, RP Shrestha, SR Smith, C Glé, AC Hartmann, M Hildebrand, WH Gerwick (2013) Metabolic engineering of lipid catabolism increases microalgal lipid accumulation without compromising growth. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sciences USA 110: 19748 – 19753

Hildebrand M., RM Abbriano, JEW Polle, JC Traller, EM Trentacoste, SR Smith, AK Davis (2013). Metabolic and cellular organization in evolutionarily diverse microalgae as related to biofuels production. Curr. Op. Chem. Biol. 17: 1-9

Smith SR, RM Abbriano, M Hildebrand (2012) Comparative analysis of diatom genomes reveals substantial differences in the organization of carbon partitioning pathways. Algal Res 1: 2-16

Hildebrand M, AK Davis, SR Smith, JC Traller, RM Abbriano (2012) The place of diatoms in the biofuels industry. Biofuels 3: 221-240