Full Members

Prof. Grant Allen

  • Bioprocessing engieering for:
  • waste water treatment;
  • maximization fo value from industrial waste streams;
  • and microalgae production from waste CO2 and waste water.
Dr. Allen’s research focuses on the interdisciplinary field of bioprocess engineering, with particular application to the treatment of aqueous and gaseous emissions and the utilization of wastes for energy and chemical production. This work often involves collaborations among engineers, microbiologists, biologists, and chemists. One of his main areas of activity is in biological wastewater treatment, particularly as it relates to the pulp and paper industry. Much of his earlier work was on understanding and optimizing the biological treatment of chlorinated organic compounds and other bioactive compounds from kraft pulp mills, as well as understanding and managing the impact of process disturbances (e.g. temperature, feed, oxygen) on treatment systems. Dr. Allen’s group’s more recent work has been on biologically producing value-added products (e.g. energy, biopolymers) from wastes, such as converting wastewater biomass into adhesives and biosurfactants, and enhancing biosludge dewatering. He has also researches the development of biofilm photobioreactors and processes to grow microalgae for fuels/chemicals from waste carbon dioxide, sunlight, and wastewater. Biological treatment of waste gas streams is another area of interest, including projects on bed design, kinetics, microbiology and modeling.

Dr. Allen is a Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and is the Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. Among his many professional accomplishments, he is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Engineering Institute of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Tel: +1 416 978 8517 web: Personal Web Page email: dgrant.allen@utoronto.ca

Prof. Levente Diosady

  • Food Engineering:
  • Microencapsulation of food ingredients and nutraceuticals
  • and food fortification.
Dr. Diosady’s work focuses on the principles of chemical engineering, especially modern separation techniques to food processing. A major thrust is the development of technologies for food fortification, to prevent or alleviate debilitating micronutrient deficiency diseases that affect one third of the world’s popluation. His research group is working with the Micronutrient Initiative and the Program for Appropriate Technologies for Health (PATH) to develop technologies for the introduction of key micronutrients into widely consumed food. His process for fortification of salt with iodine and iron reduced anemia by 1 million in a test with 3.4 million children in India. His group is currently focused on microencapsulation for micronutrients and nutraceuticals for improving the nutritional value of foods in both the developing world and Canada. As an expert in oilseed processing, Dr. Diosady is also working on the simultaneous production of biofuels and food-grade protein isolates from canola, rapeseed and mustard seeds, which can replace expensive meat proteins in many processed foods.

Dr. Diosady is a Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto, where he directs the Food Engineering Group. He is a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada, Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology, Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Hungarian Academy of Engineering, the International Academy of Food Science and Technology, and the American Oil Chemists’ Society. His innovative work has been recognized by many professional awards, including the 2007 J. W. Eva Award for outstanding service to the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology through research and service, and the Babcock-Hart Award of the Institute of Food Technologists honouring an IFT member who has attained distinction by contributions to food technology which result in improved public health through nutrition. He is a member of the Order of Ontario, the Province’s highest civilian honour.

Tel: +1 416 978 4137 web: Personal Web Page email: l.diosady@utoronto.ca

Prof. Elizabeth Edwards

  • Modeling and analysis of anaerobic microbial communities for:
  • biodegradation and bioremediation of toxic chemicals;
  • anaerobic digestion of industrial and municipal wastes;
  • and biotransformation of waste to high value products.
The focus of Dr. Edwards work is to harness and enhance the innate ability of anaerobic microbes to biologically transform common toxic pollutants or to convert waste products to more valuable products. Her research involves the physiological and phylogenetic characterization of microbial communities to improve biochemical reaction rates. Dr. Edwards brings expertise in engineering scale-up and commercial application of bioproducts to BioZone, and was recognized with the 2009 NSERC Synergy Award for her highly successful partnership with Geosyntec, an international environmental consulting firm with whom she developed a microbial consortium called KB-1®. This commercially successful bioproduct biodegrades two of the world’s most common and persistent groundwater pollutants, PCE (a common dry-cleaning agent) and TCE (a degreasing solvent), more quickly and at a lower cost than conventional methods. It has been used at over 300 sites around the world.

Dr. Edwards is the Director of BioZone and a Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. She is an internationally renowned expert in bioremediation and environmental biotechnology who has spent over 20 years developing techniques that use bacteria to clean up sites with groundwater contamination. Dr. Edwards’ research accomplishments have been recognized with several prestigious awards, including an NSERC Women’s Faculty Award, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award (PREA), a Killam Research Fellowship (Canada Council for the Arts), and Killam Prize (Canada Council for the Arts). She has been in inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her publications include over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, and as many government and industrial reports, book chapters and conference papers.

Tel: +1 416-946-3506 Web: Personal Web Page  email: elizabeth.edwards@utoronto.ca

Prof. Radhakrishnan Mahadevan

  • Modeling and engineering of microbial systems for:
  • genome-scale models of cellular processes;
  • metabolic engineering using systems and synthetic biology;
  • and optimization and control of biological processes.
Dr. Mahadevan is a pioneer in the fields of systems biology, synthetic biology, and constraint-based models of metabolic networks. His research interests include systems analysis, engineering and control of biological processes, and genome-scale models of cellular processes. Applications of this work include optimization of bioremediation strategies, engineering for microbial fuel cells, and the designing cells to economically produce high-value chemical products. Using computational and experimental methods, Dr. Mahadevan was the first to model the unique metabolism of Geobacter sulfurreducens, an anaerobic metal-reducing bacterium with applications in bioremediation of toxic metals and bioelectricity generation. His computational expertise is critical to the development of organism-independent metabolic models based on the metagenome sequence data generated by researchers in BioZone.

Dr. Mahadevan is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and serves as BioZone’s Associate Director for Computational Resources.

Tel: +1 416 946 0996 web: Personal Web Page email: krishna.mahadevan@utoronto.ca

Prof. Emma Master

  • Synthesis of new polymers and chemicals from plant fibre through:
  • enzymology, protein engineering, proteomics, and lignocellulose chemistry;
  • and high-resolution surface analysis ligno-cellulose modifications.
The overall aim of Dr. Master’s research group is to harness recent developments in (meta)genome sequencing and tools for functional characterization of bioprocesses, to discover and design enzymes and non-catalytic proteins that can be used to synthesize new polymers and chemicals from renewable plant fibre. In particular, her group explores the potential of targeted, nano-scopic modifications to plant polymer chemistry and phytochemical structure on tangible impacts to biomaterial and biochemical properties, such as barrier properties, nutraceutical value, and antimicrobial activity. Applications of this research align well with expanding interest and global markets for biochemicals and bio-based materials.

Dr. Master is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and is BioZone’s Associate Director for Laboratories and Facilities. Her research expertise lies in enzymology, protein engineering, proteomics, applied functional genomics, and lignocellulose chemistry.

Tel: +1 416 946 7861 web: Personal Web Page email: emma.master@utoronto.ca

Prof. Alison McGuigan

  • Understanding cellular interactions, orientation, and growth by:
  • modeling tissue orginization and architecture;
  • and tissue engineering.
The objective of the McGuigan lab is to develop experimental systems to understand and control cellular morphogenesis tissue engineering applications.

Through tissue engineering the McGuigan lab is addressing the central question “How do cells make and coordinate architectural decisions in response to combinations of signaling cues?” Answering this question will fundamentally improve our understanding of embryo morphogenesis and other morphogenetic process such as wound healing, tissue regeneration, tissue integration, and tissue disorganization in disease. Applying this fundamental information will provide new therapeutic strategies for addressing problems in regenerative medicine such as engineering artificial tissues from stem cells, developing treatments for developmental diseases that result from incorrect tissue formation, and developing in vitro drug screening culture models to develop therapies for diseases like cancer or heart disease.

Tissue engineering seeks to develop advanced health technologies to regenerate and model normal and diseased tissues. During natural tissue assembly and regeneration processes, cells are recruited and re-organized into a specific architecture. For example, during wound healing or regeneration replacement cells, often stem cells, are recruited and re-organized into a specific arrangement to generate new tissue. The functionality of the tissue depends critically on correct incorporation and re-organization of the cells during the regenerative process. Understanding how cell re-organization (termed morphogenesis) is regulated and how it can be controlled is a central problem in tissue engineering. In contrast, in diseases, such as cancer, cells in the tissue re-organize incorrectly as the disease spreads. Understanding cell re-organization therefore could also provide a basis for identifying novel disease therapies.

Dr. McGuigan is an Assistant Professor and Director of the McGuigan Lab for Tissue Morphogenesis Engineering. Her research focuses on engineering functional artificial tissues as an important emerging strategy for treating patients who suffer from organ failure. Dr. McGuigan was awarded the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine Young Investigator Award in 2006, and an NSERC Discovery Accelerator grant in 2009.

Tel: +1 416 978 7552 web: Personal Web Page email: alison.mcguigan@utoronto.ca

Prof. Alexei Savchenko

  • Protein and enzyme production and characterization for:
  • identification of bacterial pathogenic factors;
  • identification of antibiotic resistance enzymes;
  • and novel enzymes of industrial relevance.
Dr. Savchenko’s work focuses on characterization of protein function using a combination of structural (primarily X-ray crystallography), biochemical and in vivo methodologies. His Structural Genomics group is working on large-scale structural characterization of protein families whose 3-D shape cannot be predicted from existing protein structure data. Dr. Savchenko and his team developed the high-throughput protein crystallization pipeline that is central to SPiT as well as to two major Structural Genomics Centres (MCSG and CSGID) in the US. This pipeline produces more than 80 novel protein structures per year and is one of the most efficient in the field of structural biology. In collaboration with Dr. Alexander Yakunin, Dr. Savchenko has done pioneering work in enzyme discovery and biochemical characterization of novel microbial enzymes.

Dr. Savchenko leads Structural Microbiology Lab and is an Assistant Professor at the Banting and Best Dept of Medical Research. He is also an Associate Professor at the Dept of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and serves as BioZone’s Associate Director for Students and Education. Dr. Savchenko has published over 100 papers and reviews, and his research has been funded by NIH, Genome Canada and NSERC.

Prof. Bradley Saville

  • Maximizing value in forest products and other processes through;
  • bioreactor design and scale-up and processing of biomass slurries;
  • and economic, life cycle, and policy analysis s of bioproducts and biofuels.
Dr. Saville’s areas of interest include enzymatic hydrolysis of starchy and lignocellulosic substrates for production of biofuels and bioproducts, and the characterization of hydrolytic enzymes and enzymes for biofuels and biopolymer synthesis. His enzyme work includes applications for bioremediation, pulp and paper, and pharmaceuticals. His research group is also involved in bioreactor design and scale-up, as well as processing of high consistency biomass slurries. In addition to the technical aspects of bioproducts, Dr. Saville has also been very active in the economic and life cycle analysis of biofuels, bioenergy and bioproducts, as well as bioenergy policy.

Dr. Saville is a Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and is head of the Bioprocess and Enzyme Technology research group. Dr. Saville is an expert in biofuels and bioenergy benchmarking, and has been involved in the biofuels area from bench scale R&D to commercialization, economics and policy. Technology derived from his research and patents related to novel hydrolytic enzymes has been field tested in seven North American fuel ethanol plants, and has been used in the production of more than 500 million US gallons of ethanol since 2004. Dr. Saville has collaborated with SunOpta Bioprocess Inc., Xylitol Canada, Canenergy, BBI, Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada and the North American Energy Working Group on various projects related to biofuels, bioenergy and bioproducts.

Prof. Alexander Yakunin

  • Enzyme discovery and enzyme engineering for:
  • enhancing bioremediation efficency;
  • and identifying novel biocatalysis for industrial applications.
Dr. Yakunin’s research is focused on enzyme discovery and the biochemical characterization of new enzymes with a focus on the functional annotation of unknown genes and the identification of novel industrial enzymes. As an experimental approach, his group uses general enzymatic assays to screen purified unknown proteins for catalytic activity. Using these assays, unknown proteins can be quickly tested for diverse activities and identified to the sub- or sub-sub-class level, greatly streamlining the number of classical substrate profiling experiments needed for characterization. In addition, he has several projects involving the development of novel biosynthetic pathways for valuable industrial chemicals and the biochemical characterization of novel microbial enzymes including CRISPR nucleases, esterases, lipases, enoate reductases, dehydrogenases, oxidases, dehalogenases, and phosphotases. Dr. Yakunin also has unique expertise in techniques for characterizing enzymes that function in anaerobic environments. He has published over 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Yakunin is Associate Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. He is also the Enzymology Group Leader at Structural Proteomics in Toronto (SPiT).

Tel: +1 416 978 4013 web: Personal Web Page email: a.iakounine@utoronto.ca