Dr Francisca Vermeulen

        Head and shoulder photograph of Francisca Vermeulen

Algal Biotechnology PDRA

I am an algal cultivation specialist working on assessing factors that contribute to harmful algal blooms. I also have expertise in the commercial cultivation of various microalgal species and am a member of EIT-food educational outreach programs for algal biotechnology and sustainable aquaculture.

Contact details:

I am currently involved in assessing environmental factors associated with harmful algal blooms and identifying future risks and impacts. I have a research interest in cultivating microalgae for a variety of biotech. My previous research focused on optimizing cultivation conditions for commercially important microalgal species for the use in algal based nutraceuticals.


Current project

All Atlantic Ocean Sustainable, Profitable and Resilient Aquaculture (ASTRAL). Funded by EU Horizon 2020. Sep 2020 - Aug 2024. Researcher role


Past projects

Algal Biotechnology courses. Funded by EIT-Food. May-Dec 2022. Co-organiser

Inspire - Sustainable aquaculture courses. Funded by EIT-Food. May-Dec 2022. Co-organiser 


I have 4+ years’ experience working on commercial algal cultivation with various microalgal species. My work was mainly based with start-up companies for with I wrote and implemented standard operating procedures from lab scale to final harvest of the product. The research conducted there focussed on improving growth rate while maintaining a high-quality product. I developed a new protocol for the induction of astaxanthin in the microalgal Haematococcus sp. which has been implemented in the factory and is used in their current products.


Accessing consultancy services from SAMS

SAMS consultancy work is delivered through its wholly owned commercial subsidiary, SAMS Enterprise. SAMS Enterprise operates a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) that is accredited to ISO9001:2008 standard, guaranteeing that all projects deliver the best possible service to our customers. All SAMS Enterprise projects are planned by a professional programme manager who oversees a team of dedicated project managers, all of whom are focussed specifically on client delivery, and have scientific experience and technical expertise in fields relevant to their assigned projects.

For further information concerning commercial enterprise opportunities at SAMS, please contact SAMS Enterprise by email (info@sams-enterprise.com) or phone +44 (0) 1631 559 470.


BSc Marine Science (SAMS UHI): Lecturer on the Year 3 optional 'Marine Biotechnology' module

MSc Industrial Biotechnology (Strathclyde University/IBioIC): Lectures and practicals on the optional semester 2 'Blue Biotechnology' module


Research student supervision

Joss Main: Improving the stability of astaxanthin for the use in neutraceuticals. MSc. Jan-Dec 23. UHI

Employment history

Since Jan 22 PDRA Algal Biotechnology at SAMS, UK

Jul 20-Jan 22: Algal Cultivation Specialist. SagaNatura, IS

May 17-Jun 20: Cell Biotechnologist and Algal Cultivation Specialist. Omega Algae, IS



2013 PhD Ecophysiology and Molecular Sciences. Victoria University of Wellington, NZ

2010 MSc Cellular and Molecular Biology. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NL

2007 BSc Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences Laboratory Technician. Hogeschool Leiden, NL]


Professional memberships

Algae UK: Member since 2020

British Phycological Society: Member since 2022