Andrew Paton Graduate Assistant

Office: Biology 409

Phone: (000) 000-0000


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


Fourth year PhD candidate in the Graham Peers lab studying the biosynthesis of chlorophyll c in diatom algae, using the pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum as a model organism. The family of chlorophyll c pigments are used for light harvesting 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. It is, however, completely unknown how chlorophylls c are made, both in the genes that are responsible for their production and their precursor within the canonical chlorophyll synthesis pathway. I therefore am using reverse genetics, biochemistry, and photophysiology to elucidate the biosynthesis of chlorophylls c and the characteristics of their mutants. I am also expanding my research towards carotenoids, namely towards the xanthophyll cycle for photoprotection from high light and the biosynthesis of fucoxanthin, another light harvesting pigment which provides the principal color of diatoms.

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.