Welcome Assistant Professor Chris Lawson to BioZone

This fall we welcomed new Assistant Professor Chris Lawson to BioZone!

Chris Lawson’s research focuses on harnessing the metabolic processes of anaerobic microbiomes for sustainable wastewater treatment and the production of renewable bioenergy and bioproducts from waste resources. He is an expert in developing systems and synthetic biology approaches to understand and engineer the metabolism of anaerobic microbial communities (“microbiomes”). His most recent work focuses on integrating automation, synthetic biology, and machine learning to biologically produce high-value chemicals from renewable feedstocks (e.g. lignocellulose, wastes) using engineered microbiomes. Lawson also develops state-of-the-art metabolomic and metaproteomic approaches to quantifying metabolic interactions and fluxes in microbial communities.

Chris completed his BASc in Civil Engineering (Environmental Option) at the University of British Columbia in 2010. He then worked for 2 year as a process engineer designing water and wastewater treatment facilities before coming back to pursue graduate studies. He completed his MASc in Environmental Engineering in 2014 and then pursued a PhD in Environmental Engineering (Microbiology Minor) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Trina McMahon and Dan Noguera studying the physiology and ecology of anaerobic ammonium oxidizing (anammox) bacteria. Following his PhD in 2019, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (Berkeley Lab) on engineering anaerobic microbiomes to produce valuable chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass.

At BioZone, Chris is looking forward to establishing a research program on engineering anaerobic microbes and communities to turn waste materials and CO2 into valuable chemicals. He’s most excited about collaborating with BioZone students, staff, and other professors to tackle challenging and important research problems at the interface of biology and engineering related to sustainability.

In his free time, Chris likes to spend time with his wife Christine and 6 month old son Isaac. He’s also a big hockey fan (Go Oliers go!) and has a twin brother (Keith) who also does research at UofT!

Read more about Chris here!