User:Jernej Turnsek

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Jernej Turnsek, PhD | Department of Plant & Microbial Biology | University of California, Berkeley | 431 Koshland Hall | Berkeley, CA 94720

Social Media

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I am a postdoctoral research scientist in Krishna Niyogi's laboratory in the Department of Plant & Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

I completed my PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Harvard University where I used a genetically encodable tag for electron microscopy and subcellular proteomics to study iron receptor endocytosis, pyrenoid composition, and biosilicification in diatoms, ubiquitous single-celled photosynthetic algae. My doctorate was split between Boston and San Diego and was co-advised by Pamela A. Silver and Andrew E. Allen.


  • Biomineral morphogenesis in single-celled marine eukaryotes
  • Intrinsically disordered proteins | Biomolecular condensates
  • Iron, Silicon, and Polyamine Metabolism
  • Origin of Life | Astrobiology | Space Exploration
  • Endurance Sports | Exercise Physiology | Sports Technology


Overview Diatoms.png

(A) Morphological diversity of diatom cell walls. The image represents cleaned diatom cell walls arranged in this pattern by the UK-based microscopist and diatom artist Klaus Kemp. (B) SEM image of Thalassiosira pseudonana, model diatom for biomineralization studies (credit: Nils Kröger). [C] Thalassiosira pseudonana cells. Red and green correspond to plastid autofluorescence and silica, respectively.


My PhD work was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: "The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation believes in bold ideas that create enduring impact in the areas of science, environmental conservation and patient care. Intel co-founder Gordon and his wife Betty established the foundation to create positive change around the world and at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Science looks for opportunities to transform–or even create–entire fields by investing in early-stage research, emerging fields and top research scientists. Environmental conservation efforts promote sustainability, protect critical ecological systems and align conservation needs with human development. Patient care focuses on eliminating preventable harms and unnecessary healthcare costs through meaningful engagement of patients and their families in a supportive, redesigned healthcare system." Visit and follow @MooreFound. Read more about the broader research initiative my projects were part of here.

Peer reviewed publications

  • Faktorová D et al. 2020. Genetic tool development in marine protists: emerging model organisms for experimental cell biology. Nat Methods 17:481–494. DOI
  • Conrado RJ et al. 2012. DNA-guided assembly of biosynthetic pathways promotes improved catalytic efficiency. Nucleic Acids Res 40:1879–1889. DOI


  • Turnšek J, Brunson JK, Deerinck TJ, Oborník M, Horák A, Bielinski VA, Allen AE. 2019. Phytotransferrin endocytosis mediates a direct cell surface-to-chloroplast iron trafficking axis in marine diatoms. bioRxiv DOI
  • Faktorová et al. 2019. Genetic tool development in marine protists: Emerging model organisms for experimental cell biology. bioRxiv DOI

Open source publications

Other publications

Creative writing



Phase Transitions in Polymeric and Protein Systems, 14-15 February 2019, Dresden, Germany

This meeting brought soft matter and polymer researchers together with molecular and cell biologists to discuss macromolecular phase separation and the physical nature of protein condensates.

ASCB | EMBO 2018 meeting, 8-12 December 2018, San Diego, CA

Focusing on cell biology as the fundamental basis of biology and exploring more specialized fields, such as neurobiology and stem cell biology. You can find the poster I presented at this conference on this link.

ASM Microbe 2018, 7-11 June 2018, GWCC, Atlanta, GA

Connecting scientists with their science–showcases the best microbial sciences in the world, and provides a one-of-a-kind forum to explore the complete spectrum of microbiology from basic science to translation and application. You can find the poster I presented at the conference on this link.

A New Age of Discovery for Aquatic Microeukaryotes, 26-29 Januar 2016, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany

This conference celebrated efforts of three major contributions to microeukaryote biology, ecology, and evolution that are catapulting the field forward: the Marine Microbial Eukaryote Transcriptome Sequencing Project (MMETSP), the Tara Oceans Expeditions, and the Malaspina Expedition. You can find the poster I presented at the conference on this link.

The Eleventh Annual Broad Institute Retreat, 14-15 December 2015, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

This event brings together researchers and affiliates of the Broad Institute to discuss institute's most recent advances at the interface of science and technology. You can find the poster I presented at the retreat here

Wyss Institute 7th Annual Retreat, 19 November 2015, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA

This event brings together researchers and affiliates of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering to discuss institute's most recent advances at the interface of science and technology. You can find the poster I presented at the retreat on this link.

Molecular Life of Diatoms 2015, 7-10 July 2015, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Molecular Life of Diatoms 2015 brought together an interdisciplinary mix of scientists to discuss recent advances in our understanding of diatoms and the way they shape our planet. You can find the poster I presented at the conference here.

2014 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit, 30 November-4 December 2014, Boston, MA



SITN Waves Correspondent

SITN Waves Expert

Science Art

In the news



Personal records

You can find reflections on my first Ironman 70.3 journey here.

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Science, Technology, Entertainment, Design

  • Hidden Brain | NPR: Invisibilia | NPR: Ted Radio Hour | Stuff You Should Now | This Week in Microbiology (TWiM)


  • Purple Patch Podcast | The Freedive Cafe Podcast | The Rich Roll Podcast | TOWER26 Podcast


  • Hello PhD | Stuff You Missed in History Class | The Coffee Podcast | The Joe Rogan Experience | The 5AM Miracle Podcast

In Slovene

  • Apparatus | Frekvenca X | Intelekta | Meta PHoDcast | Studio ob 17h


Marine Microbiology

Slovenian Language and Culture


The last 10 books I read

  • Pravica | Srečko Kosovel
  • Karantena. Rim. | Janko Petrovec
  • Rojstvo teorema | Cedric Villani
  • Get a Financial Life | Beth Koblinger
  • The Rules | The Velominati
  • Quirky Berkeley | Tom Dalzell
  • Long Distance | Bill McKibben
  • Designing Your Life (audiobook) | Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
  • The Pattern on the Stone | Danny Hillis
  • Homo Deus | Yuval Noah Harari