PHYCONET is managed by an Executive Group and steered by a Management Board.

Executive Group

The Executive Group comprises PHYCONET Director Saul Purton (University College London), Co-Director Michele Stanley (Scottish Association for Marine Science) and Network Manager Janet Waterhouse (University College London).

Saul Purton - Director

Saul Purton – Director

Saul is a Professor of Algal Biotechnology at University College London,where he heads the UCL Algal Biotechnology Group. He obtained his PhD in plant molecular biology from the University of Cambridge in 1988, and was then awarded a long-term EMBO Research Fellowship to study algal molecular-genetics at the University of Geneva, before taking up a permanent academic position at UCL in 1991.

Saul has over 25 years of research experience in the field of algal biology and molecular genetics, with current research projects focusing on: i) the biology, genetics and evolution of the algal chloroplast and mitochondrion; ii) the development of green algae and cyanobacteria as GM platforms for the production of novel fuel molecules or therapeutic proteins. He played a pioneering role in the development of technologies for introducing genes into the nuclear and chloroplast genomes of the model alga, Chlamydomonas, and several on-going projects in the Group aim to develop similar methods for other industrially important algal species.

He is also head of Algae @ UCL, a virtual centre at UCL whose members are biologists, engineers, architects and social scientists working together to explore novel applications of microalgae. Finally, he is a founding member of the Algal Biotechnology Consortium that brings together algal groups from the  University of Cambridge, UCL and Rothamsted Research Institute.

Michele Stanley - Co-Director

Michele Stanley – Co-Director

Michele  has over 21 years research experience in the area of biochemistry and molecular biology. She has worked on applied phycology projects for more than 17 years and her main focus at SAMS has been leading the development and the continued strengthening research in the area of algal biotechnology both locally and internationally.

Michele’s other main role was as the Director of the NERC/TSB Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group (2011-2014). She is a member of EPSRC’s Energy Strategic Advisory Team,  the Scottish Government’s Science and Research Working Group for the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture representing Blue Technology, the UK Cross Research Councils Bioenergy Group, vice-chair for the Scientific Advisory Board of the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and a member of the steering committees for both the Aquaculture and Marine Renewable Energy forums under Marine Alliance of Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS).

Janet Waterhouse - Network Manager

Janet Waterhouse – Network Manager

Janet is responsible for the day-to-day management of PHYCONET, reporting to the Directors.

She is an experienced molecular microbiologist, having worked previously as a scientist in the biotech industry, and was formerly a post-doctoral researcher in Saul Purton’s group, working on high-value protein (human growth hormone) production in microalgae and cyanobacteria, and assessing nuclear and chloroplast transformation methods in Haematococcus pluvialis and Lobosphaera incisa.

She also set up and continues to manage websites for both Saul’s group and the [email protected] group.


Management Board

The PHYCONET Management Board comprises members from academia, industry and other relevant organisations.

Mike Goosey - Chair

Mike Goosey – Chair

Dr Mike Goosey is a bioenergy and industrial biotechnology consultant and is an honorary Professor in Sustainable Bioenergy at the University of Nottingham. He is a council member for the BBSRC.  Mike was previously with the Royal Dutch Shell Company for 21 years. He served as Global Manager for Shell’s R&D Biofuels Programme in Shell’s Alternative Energies business.  In this role he led multi-disciplinary R&D teams in the Americas, Europe and SE Asia, both within Shell, Universities, Institutes and in partnerships with biotechnology startups such as  Iogen, Codexis, Cellana and Virent.

In his previous assignments he was the Global Manager for Pervasive R&D Technologies, supporting Shell’s Refinery operations, LNG and Chemicals businesses. His team also provided trackside support for the Ferrari F1 team. Previous to this, he was responsible for the biochemical and molecular biology team at Sittingbourne Research Centre, UK involved in the molecular design of Agrochemicals.

Mike has a PhD in Biochemistry and was a Parkinson’s  Disease Research Fellow at the Medical School, Birmingham University, UK, before joining Dow Chemical Company where he worked for 6 years in the Agrochemical Business. Mike was made a Fellow of the Royal Society Of Chemistry in 2007.

Tom Jenkins - Co-Chair

Tom Jenkins – Co-Chair

Dr Tom Jenkins is a Lead Technologist at InnovateUK (formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board) working in the Agriculture and Food Sector, and has responsibility for delivering the £70m Agri-Tech Catalyst programme. The Agri-Tech Catalyst is one of two key funding recommendations highlighted in the recent Government Strategy paper “A UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies” to support the translation of R&D into practical applications to meet the sustainable intensification challenge of our agricultural sector.

Prior to joining Innovate UK, Tom was Assistant Director at the Biosciences Knowledge Transfer Network and led the Plant & Crop Sector team, where activities focussed around knowledge exchange between the research-base and industry to help accelerate the commercialisation of new technology.  He also managed two Special Interest Groups (SIGs) on behalf of the Technology Strategy Board, the Algal Bioenergy SIG and Synthetic Biology SIG.

Tom received his PhD in Plant Molecular Genetics from the University of Leeds and has also held R&D posts in France, Denmark and the UK where research focussed on applied biosciences and agriculture, including biotic and abiotic stress responses in plants and crops, horizontal gene transfer and biotechnology.

Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley - Co-Chair

Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley – Co-Chair

Beatrix is Director of Innovation and Impact at BAS, and Enterprise Champion at the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge. She studied Biochemistry in Germany and then moved to Cambridge, where she obtained her MPhil and PhD in photosynthesis research.

A plant biochemist by background with 20 years experience, Beatrix’s focus is on unlocking the potential of research for the benefit of society. Her particular expertise lies in developing algal technologies for commercial use in the areas of food and feed, platform chemicals, bioremediation and energy.

This is achieved through partnership in the InCrops Enterprise Hub, the INTERREG NW Europe Strategic Initiative ‘EnAlgae’, and strategic initiatives such as the development of an Innovation Centre at BAS.  She has authored the BBSRC scoping study ‘Algal Research in the UK’ in 2011, is senior author of the NERC-TSB ‘UK Roadmap for Algal Technologies’, and has gained real-life experience of the challenges associated with commercialisation through involvement in a spin-out company developing algae- and moss-based biophotovoltaic devices.

Knowledge Transfer Manager, Knowledge Transfer Network

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Swansea University

CEO, Industrial Phycology

Lecturer in Bioengineering, University of Sheffield

Professor in Biotechnology, University of Kent

Scientific Director, Algenuity

Reader in Systems Power & Energy, University of Glasgow


Previous Management Board members

IBCarb Network Manager, University of Manchester
Associate Professor in Applied Aquatic Biosciences, Swansea University
Bioprocess engineer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Environmental & Research Consultant, Sweet Environmental Consultants

Phyconet News

  • April 10, 2018

    IBioIC are participants in the Interreg funded project “European Marine Biological Resource Centre Biobank”. The project is organising a 1 day workshop on “Practical steps for facilitating the use of marine biological resources for commercial R&D in the context of

    Read more ›

  • March 28, 2018

    The PHYCONET March 2018 newsletter is now available. To receive the next newsletter direct to your inbox, please join us by completing the short form on the Membership page.

  • PHYCONET, in conjunction with the Center for Microalgal Biotechnology and Biofuels at the Institute of Hydrobiology in Wuhan, China, is organising an international workshop, to be held 19-21 September in Wuhan. The objective is to bring UK and Chinese microalgae

    Read more ›