Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2023

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Plant & Microbial Biosciences)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Global temperatures are increasing, causing damage to crop plants, algae, and reducing food and biofuel production. To meet increasing demand for food and energy, we must engineer thermotolerant crops and algae that will thrive in the increasingly warm environment. However, there are many things we do not understand about how photosynthetic cells cope with high temperatures. Primarily, we do not fully understand which genes are required for thermotolerance and how different intensities and durations of high temperature periods may change this list. In this thesis, I employed high-throughput, quantitative, and genomic approaches including transcriptomics, proteomics, and genome-wide pooled mutant screens in the unicellular green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, to identify genes with putative roles in thermotolerance. By triangulating these datasets with MapMan functional annotations, I present a list of 386 high-confidence putative thermotolerance genes, representing ~2% of the Chlamydomonas genome. Furthermore, I phenotypically validated mutants in one putative conserved thermotolerance gene of unknown function in both Chlamydomonas and the land plant model Arabidopsis thaliana, demonstrating the translatability of this work from green algae to land plants. Together, these data help us understand how photosynthetic cells respond to high temperatures and serve as a resource for engineering thermotolerance in green algae and land plants.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Ru Zhang

Committee Members

Joshua Blodgett, Ram Dixit, Oscar Harari, James Umen,

Available for download on Tuesday, April 22, 2025