Roland Ndeh profile picture
Molecular Plant Biology
Doctoral Researcher, Department of Life Technologies
Cyanobacterial Metabolic Engineering and Optimization; Towards Photoautotrophic Biotechnological Applications


I have a Bachelor degree in Biochemistry and a Masters in Molecular Biotechnology. I have worked in some of the finest research institutions in the world, and have an extensive research background. For my master thesis at Lund University in Sweden, I worked on enhacing the thermal stability of a thermostable alkaline active xylanase from bacillus halodurans by directed evolution. The experience was crucial for the work I did at the university of Maryland in the United States.

At the University of Maryland, I isolated and characterized a heat-shock gene that plays a role in plant defense against fugal pathogens. My work at the University of Maryland led me to the National Institute of Health (NIH- a US government research Institution), the most funded and one of the most reputable research institution in the world. Though the job was very financially rewarding, my role at the NIH was more service oriented. I felt the need to be more directly involved in research again, so I joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as a research specialist.

Hopkins offered me a fresh opportunity to develop experimental designs for lower respiratory track infections research, and my primary role was planning, implementation, and interpretation of results. My five years at Hopkins were incredibly successful as I published many papers within a short period of time.

At Hopkins, I had clarity that I needed to do Ph.D in genetic/metabolic engineering of Cyanobacteria. That realization took me to my current research project.


In the big picture, the ultimate aim of the research is to advance the development of photoautotrophic biotechnological solutions. The objective is to use engineered cyanobacteria as production hosts for different carbon based chemicals directly from CO2, using solar radiation as energy in industrial scale applications. The work is motivated by the need to establish new innovations that would aid the transition from fossil-based economy towards renewable sustainable systems, as part of future circular economy infrastructure. The basic concept has already been well established, but there are still various biological and technological bottlenecks that have prevented the development of commercial applications. This Ph.D. work will specifically focus on various recognized bottlenecks in cyanobacterial metabolic engineering, and help pave the way towards the emerging future technologies. The planned work is intimately interlinked with the current ongoing research at Molecular Plant Biology unit, the Nordic CoE NordAqua (, and follows the objectives set for the European large-scale