Andrew Paton Graduate Assistant

Office: Biology 409

Phone: (000) 000-0000


  • BS Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of Arizona
  • BA Biochemistry, University of Arizona


Fifth year PhD candidate in the Graham Peers lab studying the genetics and photo-physiology of the xanthophyll cycle in diatom algae, using the pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum as a model organism. Carotenoid pigments different from those found in land plants are used for light harvesting and light protection in a wide variety of algae including brown algae, such as giant kelp, dinoflagellates, such as zooxanthellae in corals, and haptophytes, such as the coccolithophores which color the White Cliffs of Dover. The genetics of how these novel pigments are synthesized and utilized in photosynthesis still requires more elucidation in these diverse groups of algae, and as such the consequences of mutations in such pathways are novel areas of study that I am exploring. 

Broad interests include photosynthesis, plastid endosymbiosis, metabolic pathways, and genetics of algae and plants. 

NSF Graduate Research Fellow since 2021. 

Past courses taught include BZ415-Marine Biology, BZ310-Cell Biology Lab, BZ120-Principles of Plant Biology, and LIFE103-Biology of Organisms.