Professional Experience / Research Activities

Keith E.Cooksey is Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Microbiology. He has 44 years experience and over 82 publications on isolating, growing and performing physiological and biochemical studies on freshwater and marine microalgae. He was the lead algal biochemistry investigator in the DoE, Solar Energy Research Institute's Aquatic Species Program to remediate carbon dioxide and form biodiesel from microalgae in the 1980s. Three of his papers from that era are considered by many as landmarks, i.e., the first publication on the use of the dye Nile Red as a screening device for algal triacylglycerides, the demonstration that the apparent biofuel yield from algae was solvent dependent and the fact that algal oil was accumulated only when the cell cycle was inhibited. Although no longer active in the laboratory, Cooksey reviews for most of the journals dealing with algal biotechnology, several federal funding agencies and consults for industries involved in algal biotechnology. He was elected twice to the National Algal Biomass Organization’s (ABO) Board of Directors. As current Chair of the Peer Review sub-committee of ABO, he and a co-chair, oversee what is posted on the ABO web site. Cooksey is also Co-chair of the ABO Standards Committee to which he brings his knowledge of algal biochemistry and analytical chemistry. The current effort of this sub – committee in analytical chemistry of algae is posted on the ABO web site. He negotiated the “Supporting Organization” status for the Phycological Society of America. Cooksey, as now an Emeritus Director of ABO, still champions the role academia in an organization set up to promote the cause of the algal industry at the federal level. On his retirement as an elected member of the ABO Board in 2012, he was given a lifetime achievement award by the current ABO board of directors for research pertinent to the algal bio-products industry. Cooksey formed the MSU Algal Biofuel Group in 2009.