Researchers (PDFs, RAs & Technicians)

Nancy Bawa

fermentation specialist working on scale up in large scale bioreactors

Nancy works with large and small scale bioreactors to scale up microorganisms for value-added products.

She also works on anaerobic degradation of benzene, toluene,xylene and scale-up of cultures and application of cultures in in-situ remediation.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Alessandra Biz

Alessandra is part of Krishna Mahadevan’s group effort to make engineered yeast able to produce adipic acid in economical amounts. She is particularly interested in using metabolic flux analysis to rewire yeast metabolism to produce adipic acid, as well as in using CRISPR/Cas9 tools to engineer non-conventional yeast.

Research Associate

Bih-King Chen

Microencapsulation of food ingredients and nutraceuticals

Research Associate with Professor Diosady working on protein extraction and purification from oils seeds.

Postdoctoral Fellow

JinJin Chen

Engineering of Fe Oxidizing Bacteria for bioleaching

JinJin primarily works on developing a gene editing method for Acidithiobacillus. She also works on the metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli to produce bioproducts.

Visiting Professor

Juliana Calábria de Araújo

Professor Calabria is a visiting Professor from Brazil currently spending her time in Edwards lab.

Research Associate

Chao Chen

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

Chao is a Research Associate from Dr. Yakunin’s lab working on the biochemical and structural characterization of novel enzymes for biocatalysis. His research interest centers on the discovery and protein engineering of novel enzymes for potential industrial applications including biocatalysis and therapeutics. This includes enzyme discovery, biochemical/biophysical characterisation, protein engineering, mechanistic enzymology as well as bioprocess optimisation. By leveraging these approaches, he works on different classes of enzymes creating novel biosynthetic pathways for sustainable production of platform chemicals.

Rosa DiLeo

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

Rosa’s main responsibilities are to perform high-throughput cloning and test-expression for selected targets in a pET system using E. coli.

Elena Evdokimova

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

Elena is part of Alexei Savchenko’s structural proteomics group and focuses on the expression, purification and crystallization of proteins for the determination of their 3-D structure by x-ray crystallography. Her targets of interest include potential industrial enzymes, effector proteins of pathogenic bacteria and proteins responsible for antiobiotic resistance.

Robert Flick

Metabolomics Specialist

Robert provides experimental and analytical support for the application of mass spectrometry ranging from high resolution protein identification to small molecule characterization and metabolomics. He has developed a variety of experimental methods for chromatographic separation and subsequent mass spectrometry based detection in order to further the scientific research being conducted in BioZone. He operates under the BioZone Mass Spectrometry Facility providing services to researchers both affiliated and not affiliated with the University of Toronto. Robert obtained an MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto.

Post-doctoral Fellow

Temesgen Fitamo

Anaerobic Digestion

Temesgen is part of Elizabeth Edwards’ research group and is working on solid state anaerobic digestion of urban organic waste fractions. He obtained his doctoral degree from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) entitled as ‘’Systematic quantification of biogas potential in urban organic waste’’. His current research focuses on investigating the effect of various process parameters on biogas production performance and parameters indicating process stability, correlation of the abundance of microbial communities’ with digester performance, mathematical modelling of the biochemical transformation of organic waste, explore the mechanisms by which the co-digestion of urban organic waste enhances the biogas production rate and yield and comparison of lab versus commercial pilot scale digester performances.


Shen Guo

Enhancing and Monitoring Anaerobic Benzene Degradation in Groundwater System

Shen graduated from Mahadevan group with an MASc degree and is currently working on a “benzene project” in Edwards research group. He works on scaling up benzene degrading cultures for pilot-scale bioaugmentation study. He also monitors microbial community composition of benzene degrading cultures through molecular biology techniques and investigates its relationship with benzene degradation.

Akhila Jonnalagadda

Akhila works as a research assistant in Professor Levente Diosady’s lab.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Batyrova Khorcheska

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

Postdoctoral Fellow

Anna Khusnutdinova

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

Anna is working on new oxidoreductases for industrial applications, and the biochemical and structural characterization of new enzymes with a focus on oxidoreductases. Her work is supervised by Alexander Yakunin.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Simon Latour

Understanding dependence of macrophage-fibroblast interactions of the local tissue microenvironment.

In several context such as wound healing and cancer, local microenvironment is remodeled. These changes comprise modification of organization and composition of microenvironment resulting notably from immune cell infiltration such as macrophages and mobilization of fibroblasts. My project will focus on understanding how macrophage-fibroblast interactions regulate the local tissue microenvironment. To this end, we use tissue engineering approaches to mimic microenvironment in vitro. Understanding how these cells interact in local tissue microenvironment could lead to novel therapeutics targets for treatment cancer or for wound healing.

Research Assistant

Peter (Hyun Woo) Lee

Characterization of the Microbial Community of an Anaerobic Digester Treating Solid Waste

Peter works on a project that characterizes the microbial community of an sequentially fed anaerobic digester treating solid organic waste (simulated commercial waste) to analyze how microbial communities react to feeding compositions and to optimize system stability and performance.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yilan Liu

metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli

Yilan’s research involves the metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli to produce biological productions. She particularly focuses on using CRISPR, self-developed TRAGE tools and metabolic flux analyses to engineer E. coli to produce alkanes and alcohols.

Line Lomheim


In addition to helping keep the BioZone labs working smoothly, Line performs remediation treatability tests using bioremediation technologies such as biostimulation and bioaugmentation. She also works on experiments using chemical reduction as a remediation technology.

Research Associate

Torsten Meyer

Bioengineering for maximizing value in forest products

Torsten is part of Elizabeth Edwards’ and Emma Master’s research groups and is working in the area of anaerobic digestion and lignocellulosic biomass biotransformation.

Research Associate

Camilla Nesbo


At Biozone Camilla L. Nesbø mainly works with Elizabeth Edwards group doing bioinformatic analyses of genomes and metagenomes. She is particularly interested in evolutionary- and comparative genomics of Bacteria and Archaea, focusing on anaerobic microorganisms from hydrothermal systems, subsurface environments such as oil reservoirs and enrichment cultures. Her research also includes phylogenomic and phylogeographic studies, as well as isolation of novel organisms and deciphering the genetic and evolutionary mechanisms behind specific phenotypes and adaptations.

Research Technician

Travis Oakes

Travis works as a Research Technician in Professor. Brad Saville’s Lab.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Olanrewaju Raji

Development and characterization of enzyme that upgrade biopolymers

I will be investigating gluco-oligosaccharide oxidases for their ability to modify cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.

Research Associate

Christine Romano


My individual research goals are still being defined. So far, I am trying to identify acidothermophilic iron oxidizing microbes that could be used to remediate a contaminated tailings pond at a mining site near Sudbury, ON.

Post-doctoral Fellow

Juveria Siddiqui


Dr. Juveria Siddiqui is a post-doctoral fellow in Professor Diosady’s Food Engineering group. Her prime research interest is to understand the function of bioactive dietary components, their beneficial effects in human health, and nutraceutical development. The focus of her present research is the micronutrients fortification through development and optimization of iron-containing reverse-enteric coated micro-particles using spray drying technique.
She is a recipient of research award from prestigious Schlumberger Foundation’s “Faculty for the Future” competition for young scholar.

Kanwaldeep Singh

Kanwaldeep works as a research technician in Prof. Alison McGuigan’s Lab.


Tatiana Skarina

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

Tatiana’s expertise lies in the optimization of protein crystallization, a key step in obtaining high quality 3D structures using x-ray crystallography. Her work focuses on the use of crystallization techniques and functional assays to help characterize effector proteins. She works under the supervision of Alexei Savchenko.

MS Facility Manager

Andrei Starostine

Mass Spectrometry Facility Manager

Andrei provides technical support and expertise for the application of mass spectrometry to a wide range of biological and inorganic analyses, including high resolution protein identification and small molecules characterization. He has developed experimental methods for chromatographic separation of protein complexes and for organic low molecular structural determination. Andrei is responsible for training students and researchers on the use of LC and GC-MS techniques in chemistry and biology. He operates the Biozone mass spec facility on an open access basis and also supplies services to researchers not affiliated with University of Toronto.

Research Associate

Peter Stogios

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

In biochemistry, “form” = “function”. 3D structure determination of proteins and enzymes is a powerful method for identifying and querying function such as identifying enzyme activity and substrate specificity, facilitating structure-based drug and inhibitor design, and guiding mutational analysis and biochemical characterization. Peter determines and characterizes the 3D structures of proteins produced by the Savchenko lab through Biozone’s x-ray diffraction facility and synchrotron partners, providing valuable functional interpretation and guidance for experimental follow-up.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Courtney Toth

Field Pilot Demonstration of Anaerobic BTEX Bioremediation Using Bioaugmentation Cultures

Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) are widespread groundwater contaminants owing to accidental spills and releases of petroleum products into the environment. Though these pollutants can be metabolized by indigenous microbial communities, it is challenging to predict the extent of their degradation under anaerobic and site-specific conditions. Using highly-enriched BTEX-degrading cultures and biomarker tools, Courtney’s research aims to test bioaugmentation as a prospective remediation biotechnology. The goal of this project is to significantly decrease time and costs associated with clean up of BTEX pollutants. She is also interested in the molecular characterization of anaerobic benzene biodegradation.

Post-doctoral Fellow

Caroline Vanderghem

Techno-economic and environmental performance of biofuels

Caroline is part of Prof. Bradley Saville and Prof. Heather Maclean’s research group. She obtained her PhD in Agronomic Sciences and Biological Engineering at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège. Her current work focuses on modeling the techno-economic and environmental performance of biofuels.

Research Associate

Meenakshi Venkatesan

Protein and enzyme production and characterization

Meenakshi is a Research Associate in the Savchenko Lab and is working with Dr. Peter Stogios. She is working on the cloning, expression, purification and crystallization of antibiotic resistance proteins.

Research Associate

Thu Vuong

Bioengineering for a sustainable forestry industry

Working under the supervision of Emma Master, Thu is investigating oxidase for fiber polymer modification.

Research Assistant

Bin (Bella) Xu

Bella Xu is currently working as a research assistant with Prof. Alison McGuigan.

Research Associate

Minquing (Ivy) Yang

Bioengineering for maximizing value in forest products

Ivy studies the cause of degranulation in the anaerobic treatment of pulp mill effluents by investigating the correlation between the microbial and physical properties of granule and wastewater characteristics. She is co-supervised Elizabeth Edwards and Brent Sleep.