Agastewar Vadlamani

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science

Dr. Vadlamani’s research focuses on the cultivation and scale-up potential of cyanobacteria. His current research includes developing economical and sustainable production processes for phycocyanin, a natural blue photosynthetic pigment found in cyanobacteria. With increased global market demand for phycocyanin, and the need to decrease CO2 emissions Dr. Vadlamani’s research will have environmental and commercial impacts.

As a member of the University of Calgary’s Bioenegy team, Dr. Vadlamani is involved with the bioenergy pilot plant project, an industrial scale carbon capture and conversion technology designed to achieve negative CO2 emissions. His work on this project, led to Dr. Vadlamani developing a novel technology to extract phycocyanin. Based on this new extraction process, along with its commercial potential, Dr. Vadlamani and his team secured a $260,000 grant through the University of Calgary’s Global Research Initiative (GRI) and in 2019, a provisional patent application was made.

Additionally, this innovation led Dr. Vadlamani to co-found Synergia Biotech Inc., a cleantech start-up focused on developing an innovative approach to cultivate, harvest and extract phycocyanin. This new technology has the potential to replace current practices, by eliminating energy use and other cost intensive steps current technology employs. Working with Creative Destruction Labs – Rockies (CDL), the Synergia Biotech team has successfully graduated from Prime stream.

Furthermore, Dr. Vadlamani has developed three novel technologies, which he has filed patents for: a high yielding algal biomass production without a concentrated CO2 supply from open pond conditions, stimuli-sensitive hydrogels to harvest microalgae, and a biochemical route to extract sugars and simultaneously covert them to organic acids.

With his fellowship, Dr. Vadlamani will continue to advance his research and technology for developing an economical and sustainable process to produce phycocyanin.

I see the University of Calgary has definitely taken the initiative to lay the foundation to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship. Synergia Biotech Inc., a university spin-off, is one such outcome of this initiative. Now with receiving this fellowship, I am even more excited. It would not only help me to achieve professional independence and success, but also motivates me to drive Synergia Biotech Inc. forward.

Dr. Agastewar Vadlamani

Dr. Agastewar Vadlamani, PhD