Schonna Manning

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Research Associate at the UTEX Culture Collection of Algae at UT-Austin


Dr. Schonna R. Manning began her career in phycology more than a decade ago investigating harmful blooms and toxic metabolites from golden algae (Prymnesium parvum, Haptophyta) for the State of Texas and U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Department. She earned a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from UT- Austin in 2010, and she was presented the Research Excellence Award for her dissertation entitled, “Molecular and phytochemical investigations of the harmful, bloom-forming alga, Prymnesium parvum Carter (Haptophyta)”. Later, during a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, she aided with the development of novel methods for the extraction, separation and identification of lipids relevant to the production of microalgae for biofuels and high-value natural products.

Dr. Manning is currently a Research Associate at the UTEX Culture Collection of Algae at UT-Austin where she oversees research and development projects related to microalgal strain selection, biochemistry and the analysis of biomass composition, as well as the optimization of photobioreactor geometry for the large-scale cultivation of microalgae.  Dr. Manning assists with the development and instruction of educational workshops, and she is appointed as the Co-Director of the Education and Training Program through the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Manning’s research at UTEX integrates the metabolomics of microalgae for the synthesis of unique biomolecules, intersecting disciplines of biochemistry, molecular biology and analytical chemistry. Her laboratory group investigates diverse strains of microalgae to elucidate the molecular assembly of bioactive compounds and their potential roles, as well as practical applications of microalgae, including fuels, feedstocks and specialty chemicals.