Dr. Schonna Manning Concluding Tenure as UTEX Director of Research & Development

Dr. Schonna Manning Concluding Tenure as UTEX Director of Research & Development

Dr. David Nobles, Jr | Helen Khodabandeh | Jian Gao | Stephen Peña

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to share with you that Dr. Schonna Manning has accepted a faculty position at Florida International University (FIU) starting this Fall 2022.

Dr. Manning is an outstanding research scientist who began her career in phycology over 15 years ago while investigating harmful bloom-forming microalgae. She attained her Master’s degree in Plant Biology in 2006 and her Ph.D. in 2010 at the University of Texas at Austin, earning the Walter Brown Research Excellence Award for the development of molecular, analytical, and metabolic fingerprinting techniques to detect harmful algae and their polyketide toxins.

During her Postdoctoral Fellowship, she established methods for the extraction, separation and characterization of lipids and high-value natural products from microalgae. Later as a UTEX Research Associate she oversaw the large-scale production (>50,000 Liters), harvesting, and downstream processing of microalgae for the manufacture of bioactives, fuels, and specialty chemicals. In 2012 she became the Director of the Algae Culturing Facility, a pilot-scale algae cultivation facility located on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. Here she worked closely with academic and corporate sponsors to evaluate the potential of scaling up microalgae for commercial production, assessment of microalgal productivity in vertical photobioreactors, and the optimization of reactor geometry.

She was promoted to Director of UTEX Research & Development in 2015 where she spearheaded projects related to strain selection, algal biochemistry, and the analysis of biomass compositions. She assisted with the scale-up of a 360,000 Liter algal cultivation facility in Indonesia, biomass-to-biofuels conversion and feedstock production with the Marine AlGae Industrialization Consortium (MAGIC), the evaluation of microalgal feedstocks isolated in Qatar, and the development of diatom biomaterials with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory as their Joint Faculty Biologist. Ongoing research in the Manning Laboratory has included the routine monitoring of toxin-producing algae in local waterways, working closely with scientists at the City of Austin and Lower Colorado River Authority, to help keep people and pets safe.

Dr. Manning will now use her vast expertise and knowledge as a faculty member with the Department of Biological Sciences and as Omics Coordinator for the Institute of Environment – a FIU Preeminent Program that brings together one of the largest groups of faculty and students associated with environmental sciences in the U.S.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Schonna Manning on her new position! While at the University of Texas she has been the embodiment of, “What starts here changes the world,” and we are excited to see what she does next.



Dr. David Nobles, Jr. | Helen Khodabandeh | Jian Gao | Stephen Pena

Posted: September 06, 2022