BioZone Community Outreach

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BioZone Community Outreach

BioZone aims to improve society and environment through both research and community outreach.


Join us in creating a world in which:

  • microorganisms are harnessed to convert wastes into useful materials or energy
  • algae are farmed to produce clean, renewable food and energy
  • living cells are designed that make green consumer products and cheap and effective pharmaceuticals
  • bacteria are programed to clean up chemical pollutants in contaminated groundwater
  • damaged tissue in sick or injured people can be repaired using engineered cells
  • food items are enhanced with micronutrients to alleviate malnutrition around the world


BioZone community outreach blog:

Uncovering activities of Carbohydrate-Active enZymes (CAZymes) on biomass fractions

By Sean Caffrey | September 13, 2018

Plant-derived polymers including cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin could be chemically and/or enzymatically engineered to obtain new functional properties and create high-value products. Therefore, methods to detect binding interactions as well as enzymatic activities on these high molecular-weight, plant-derived materials have been developed. In particular, these plant polymers were coated on Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation… Read more »

Sustainable plastics degradation for recycling

By Sean Caffrey | June 15, 2018

In response to the increase in social awareness about environmental issues, biodegradable plastics are getting more popular. Several types of biodegradable polyesters with different physical properties have emerged to replace traditional petroleum-based polymers. However, there is no efficient recycling strategy in place for most of these plastics. As a solution, we’ have developed a patent-pending, enzyme-based… Read more »

Designing microbes to produce chemicals from renewable resources

By Sean Caffrey | March 22, 2018

The environmental impact of fossil fuels, their unstable prices, and limited supplies have led to concerns regarding the sustainability of chemical processes. A promising alternative is the use of microbes to produce the same chemicals but from renewable resources and in a sustainable and cost-effective process. Designing microbes for producing valuable chemicals from cheap feedstocks… Read more »

Cleaner Mining

By Sean Caffrey | October 27, 2017

The challenge of supplying future mineral demands is alarmingly complex. Earth’s high-grade primary metal reserves are depleting, and this calls for new alternative mining strategies to complement – and eventually replace – traditional pyro/hydrometallurgy techniques. Biomining is a technique which applies different microbes to mineral ores for the purpose of extracting target metals so they… Read more »

Preventing Iron and Micro-nutrient Deficiency with Tea

By Sean Caffrey | October 27, 2017

Micronutrient poor diets around the globe, and in particular in the developing world, cause deficiencies in iron and folic acid. Rectifying this issue through food fortification has been the focus of my graduate research. The fortification of black tea with iron has the potential to reduce the prevalence of iron deficiency in the developing world…. Read more »

Probiotics Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

By Sean Caffrey | October 27, 2017

Crohn’s disease is one of the most common chronic inflammatory diseases of the small and large intestine. The symptoms include diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and abdominal pain due to inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. Currently, there is no known cure for the disease. The symptoms can be managed using medication but not… Read more »

Cleaning up benzene contamination

By Sean Caffrey | June 30, 2017

Benzene is a simple hydrocarbon that occurs naturally in crude oils and refined fuels, and is used as a precursor in industrial processes. It is a common contaminant in fuel storage and industrial sites. Benzene is highly toxic and carcinogenic, and therefore its removal from sites near human habitation is a priority in contaminated site… Read more »

Reducing landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions with better biotechnology

By Sean Caffrey | April 26, 2017

Population growth in Canada has resulted in a significant increase in the amount of organic waste. Canada produced over 25 million tons of waste in 2014, with 64% sent to landfills. Landfills, the most common way of disposing waste, are a major source of methane gas. Methane is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide… Read more »

The Tree of Lemons and Oranges: Using biotechnology to revitalize the traditional forestry sector

By Sean Caffrey | May 6, 2016

By Jullie-Anne Gandier The technique of grafting, joining two plants with the intention of growing them as one, can produce quite curious garden varietals. In fact, the branches of a lemon tree can be bound to the trunk of an orange tree to produce a plant which bears both oranges and lemons. Such a tree… Read more »

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