Dr. Claudio Fuentes GRUNEWALD

Currently working as Algae Program Director for King Abdullah University of Science and Technology – Beacon Development Department (KBD) in Saudi Arabia. Claudio gets his degree in Aquaculture Technical Engineering in 2001 by Arturo Prat University, Iquique, Chile. In 2008 he gets his Master of Science in Environmental Studies, also he gets in 2011 his PhD in Environmental Science and Technology, both degrees from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Claudio is an algal biotechnologist with over 27 years’ experience in design, construction, commissioning, and operation of microalgae plant facilities, with a long experience in microalgae growth in open and closed systems at industrial scale such as photobioreactors, bubble columns, flat panels, raceways, among others. With an extensive knowledge and background in microalgae production, biochemical analysis and metabolites purifications including of materials external to the cells, across applications from aquaculture to medical. He has 30+ publications on microalgae, with half of his career working in industry developing and commercializing novel techniques in microalgal biotechnology.

Dr. Ergun TAŞKIN

Ergün Taşkın is a professor at the Manisa Celal Bayar University (MCBU), Turkey. He earned his PhD in Hydrobiology at the MCBU. He has studied taxonomy, ecology and inhibitory activities of the marine macroflora (macroalgae and seagrasses) as well as marine monitoring and ecological quality status of marine coastal waters in Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea. He has developed ecological quality indice such as MARFEI (Marine Floristic Ecological Index) and BEARI (Benthic Ecological Assessment Rapid Index) for the ecological quality classification of marine coastal waters by benthic macrophytes. He co-authored the books “The Mediterranean Cystoseira (with photographs)” (2012), “Phycology (Algae)” (2012), “Marine algae of Turkey, I. Phaeophyceae” (2013), and “Suyosunları” (List of Turkish Algae) (2019). He has a Scuba Diving (CMAS *) license.


Sing Tung is a senior lecturer which began his academic career at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Malaysia in 2016 with declared major in Aquatic Science. He holds a Bachelor of Science with honour and Master of Science in Marine Biotechnology from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. He obtained his Ph.D degree, Aquatic Science, from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia in 2016. His research interest is Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) which focuses on taxonomy and molecular systematic of harmful algae. Sing Tung was contributed toward the taxonomy and diversity of Pseudo-nitzschia in the tropical Western Pacific region, a region with scant information of ASP when he was still working on his Ph.D degree. With the knowledge and skills on Pseudo-nitzschia taxonomy, he had described several new species of Pseudo-nitzschia, this included the descriptions of P. kodamae, P. sabit, P. bipertita, P. limii in Malaysia water. His research activities are including taxonomy and molecular systematic marine and freshwater plankton species. Currently, he is working on the small dinoflagellate which produces the ichthyotoxin in Malaysia water.


Emna is currently working as a Bioprocess Lead for the Beacon Development Department at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KBD-KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. She earned her Engineering degree in 2015, majoring in Industrial Biology and minoring in Process Engineering from the National Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Tunisia (INSAT). In 2021, she completed her PhD in Biological Engineering. Recently, she integrated an important algae program at KAUST. She has been occupying a bioprocess lead for the KAUST algae program. Emna has gained experience in commissioning various industrial machines, including ultrafiltration, centrifuge, and high-pressure homogenizer. She led the commissioning process for these machines, ensuring their installation and functioning correctly to meet the required specifications and produce high-quality products. Emna has extensive experience in scientific research, with a strong background in modeling and process simulation, particularly in the environmental field. She has achieved several notable research accomplishments, including the implementation of a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) in a semi-continuous mode for wastewater treatment. She has also established several new bioprocesses for bioelectricity production through a Microbial fuel cell approach based on microalgae-bacteria consortia. Emna has worked also as a Process Engineer in an EPC company, where she assessed the simulation/modeling of a Production Unit of food concentrates livestock by ASPEN PLUS.

Dr. Levent ÇAVAŞ

Professor Çavaş is currently the member of the Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry (Biochemistry Division) in Dokuz Eylül University. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences in Dokuz Eylül University in 2005 and he continued his studies and researches in Dokuz Eylül University. His main scientific interests are the biochemistry and biotechnology of invasive marine seaweeds in the Mediterranean Sea, isolation and characterization of secondary metabolites, eco-friendly antifouling biocides and paints and bioinformatics. He has 90 scientific papers published in SCI expanded journals with higher than 2500 citations. He played roles in many European Union based projects. He is one of the members of science commission in the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS). He is married and he has 15-years old daughter.

Dr. Gabriel Ivan Romero VILLEGAS

Gabriel I Romero holds a PhD in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocesses Applied to Agri-food and environment (2018), Universidad de Almeria, Spain. He has been working with microalgae culture since 2011 in lab and big scale. He has two postdocs in The Instituto Tecnologico de Sonora, Mexico, where he worked with native microalgae and their impact in the germination process of seeds of agricultural interest.  He has been working at King Abdulaziz University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as Algae Lead in the governmental project “Development of Algal Biotechnology” since 2021, in which is responsible of industrial scale up microalgae cultivation.

Dr. Tan Toh HII

Dr. Tan holds a Ph.D in Marine Biotechnology (2017) from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. Food safety is his first priority because readily available food should be safe for consumption. His research background was on phytoplankton associated with harmful algal blooms. Now, he is a Senior Lecturer in Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus since 2019. He taught both Diploma in Fisheries and Bachelor of Science with Honours in Aquaculture. He look forward to a world without starvation and everyone getting sufficient nutritious food and hence started his research group “Sarawak Live Feed Research” with a career direction to focus on aquaculture organisms’ live feed selection framework to improve fry survival, development and quality. His current research interest is to find and utilize the potential micro- and macroalgae as live feed.

Dr. Rahul Vijay KAPOORE

Rahul’s research focuses on developing an optimised workflow for algal biotechnology for high-value natural products, circular economy approaches, metabolome profiling of cells, co-culture techniques, microbial consortia, microalgal biotechnology (biorefinery), info-chemicals characterization, microalgal biostimulants, biosurfactants and bioemulsifiers, nutrient remediation and resource recovery. Research Scientist for the DAB-KSA project, funded by the Saudi Ministry of Environment Water and Agriculture (MEWA) through KAUST Beacon Development (KBD). DABKSA is a strategic Saudi governmental project related to food security, which aligns with Vision 2030 and the Saudi Green initiative. Rahul is the laboratory lead and is mainly responsible for the fractionation and characterization of algal biomass and later development of algal biomass into commercial products.