February 2018, Volume 23
  1. BioZone Annual Report
  2. Introducing the new BioZone Council
  3. BioZone 2019 Events At-A-Glance
  4. Welcome New BioZone Members
  5. BioZone Horizons 2018
  6. BioZone Fall Symposium 2018
  7. BioZone Holiday Party
  8. New Genome Canada Project
  9. Professor Levente Diosady: Officer of the Order of Canada
  10. Grad Student Slack
  11. New Publications

1. BioZone Annual Report

The BioZone Annual Report for 2016 - 2018 is now ready!!

The Annual Report highlights the many milestones and BioZone activities from September 2016 - August 2018. Make sure you have a look to see the amazing work that has been going on in BioZone over the last 2 years.

The annual report can be found on the BioZone Website and at the link below. 


                                   BioZone Annual Report 2016 - 2018 

2. Introducing the New BioZone Council

Hey BioZoners! Get ready to meet your new BioZone Council! The main objectives of the BioZone Council are to maintain a collegial and collaborative atmosphere within BioZone through social events, communication, and knowledge exchange and to promote BioZone as a leading research centre to academia and industry. If you have any comments or suggestions for the 2019 BioZone Council, please feel free to chat with any of us about it!  

Co-Presidents: Scott Proulx & Nadia Morson 
Internal Communications Coordinators: Leo Zhu 
External Relations Coordinator: Olivia Bulka 
Events Coordinators: Kavya Siddartha & Paul Chen 
Treasurer: Chester Pham 
Executive Director of BioZone: Sean Caffrey 

3. BioZone 2019 Events At-A-Glance

The new BioZone Council is already busy planning lots of fun events for the upcoming year! To get everyone ready and spark some excitement, here are the tentative dates of our biggest events of the year. Mark your calendars! 

Science Rendez-vous: May 11, 2019

Summer Retreat: July/August

Welcome Back BBQ: September 3-6, 2019

Fall Retreat: October 2019

BioZone Symposium & Holiday Party: November 25 - December 6, 2019

4. Welcome New BioZone Members

We are pleased to introduce the new members who joined BioZone in since October 2018. Welcome to all and best of luck during your time here. Please click on image for larger version.

5. BioZone Horizons 2018

BioZone Horizons was held on Friday September 28th 2018 at the New College Campus. This was an excellent opportunity for current students to learn from BioZone Alumni, and others, about their experiences finding job opportunities in both industry and academia, after graduating. The event featured very informative talks from BioZone Alumni - Aditya Pandit (Phycus), Christina Heidorn (UofT), Pratish Gawand (Ardra Bio), Jennifer Gardiner (UofT), Yaldah Azimi (CH2M and Jacobs) and Scott Genin (OTI Luminomics). The talks covered a range of topics as each speaker recounted their journey and the steps they had taken to identify opportunities that lead them to where they are now. 

In addition, there was also a Team Building exercise led by ILEAD where all the attendees filled out questionnaires to identify their unique leadership style. This was then was followed by a team activity where everyone worked in groups to identify and develop a research grant proposal. The event concluded with a poster presentation session focused on research with potential industrial impact and lunch.

6. BioZone Fall Symposium 2018

The BioZone fall symposium was held Friday 30th November 2018 and was a great success.  There were a lot of excellent presentations and a very good turnout to support all the research that is being carried out in BioZone.

Prizes were also given out for the following categories:

  1. 15-minute Presentation - Tim Leshuk (Gu)
  2. 3-minute Thesis Competition - Ade. Oluwafolakemi Oyewole (Diosady)
  3. Poster Presentation - Maryam Arefmanesh (Master)

Watch out for the next symposium to share your research with the rest of BioZone!

7. BioZone Holiday Party

The BioZone Holiday Party, held on the 30th November, 2018 brought together BioZone professors, staff, students and their families for a wonderful celebration. The event was organized in pot luck style which brought out a scrumptious selection of food for everyone to try.

Prizes were given for best appetizer, entree (meat), entree (vegetarian), and dessert.. congratulations to all our winners!

The highlight of the night was a highly anticipated video production put together by the BZ Council with our very own BioZoners in staring roles. It was an excellent video and had audience in stitches to see all the familiar faces in the production. You can watch this video at the following link:
The night's entertainment also included an interactive jeopardy style quiz and a special dance performance from Laura Calabria, daughter of BioZone's visiting professor Juliana Calabria.

The night concluded with the distribution of the 2018 BioZone Recognition Awards to show appreciation for the BioZone members who have made significant contributions at BioZone in 2018.

The award winners for 2018 were: 

Dean Robson for Community Service
Anna Khusnutdinova for Technical Excellence
Patrick Diep for Innovation


8. New Genome Canada Project: Global scale metabolic pathway reconstruction from environmental genomes

Professor Elizabeth Edwards and Krishna Mahadevan are working with Project lead Professor Steven Hallam of the University of British Columbia on the development of the Environmental Genome Encyclopedia. The total funding for the project is expected to be $1.2 million.

We may think it’s all about us humans, but for more than 3.5 billion years, microorganisms have been the dominant form of life on earth. Over the past decade, high-throughput sequencing and mass spectrometry have generated information about the DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites found in these microbes. Together, this provides information about their function and identity, linking them to a wider range of ecosystem functions at the individual, population and community levels. There is, however, a paucity of scalable software tools to mine, monitor and interact with environmental datasets. This is particularly frustrating at a time when we as a society are grappling with global climate change, as microbial communities offer a virtual blueprint to rebuild our global future in more sustainable ways.

The Environmental Genome Encyclopedia (EngCyc), a compendium of microbial community metabolic blueprints supported by high-performance software tools. Access to EngCyc will be through a web portal and support user-defined blueprint construction in an automated and scalable manner, thus enabling gene and pathway discovery. Its data exploration options will power knowledge creation and translation. The combination of the web portal and software tools will enable the research community, both nationally and internationally, to more effectively explore and harness the hidden powers of microbial communities, to the benefit of the biorefining, mining and energy sectors, among others.

9. Professor Levente Diosady named an Officer of the Order of Canada

BioZone's very own Professor Levente Diosady has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada. This very prestigious award has been given in recognition of "his contributions to the science of food engineering, which has improved the lives of millions of people around the world."

Professor Diosady is well known for his work on micronutrients that are needed in small but regular amounts to ensure good health. One of professor Diosady's crowning achievements has been the creation of a nurient-enriched seasoning known as double fortified salt (DFS). The resulting compound is now produced in the state of Tamil Nadu in Indian and is being added to school lunches across the stated. DFS supplementation has now also been expanded to the state of Uttar Pradesh. Professor Diosady and his team are now working on microencapsulation technologies for other micronutriens, such as Vitamin A, B12 and Zinc.

10. Grad Student Slack

Grad Student Slack is an online community of >1,000 grad students. The group is accessed through the Slack app and is a source of peer advice, support and solidarity! Its channels are divided by topics or fields and include “cvtips”, “introductions”, “jobhunt”, “paper-writing”, “protips” and many more. You can post questions to be answered by other grad students (or read through other’s Q&A’s). Past questions and answers remain on the app for new students to keyword search. To join, follow the instructions on the website:

10. New Publications 

1. Rodenhizer, D., Dean, T., Xu, B., Cojocari, D. and McGuigan, A.P. (2018). A three-dimensional engineered heterogeneous tumor model for assessing cellular environment and response. Nature protocols. 13(9):1917-1957.  
2. Diep, P., Mahadevan, R. and Yakunin, A. (2018). Heavy Metal Removal by Bioaccumulation Using Genetically Engineered Microorganisms. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. 6:157.
3. Xu, Y.F., Lu, W., Chen, J.C., Johnson, S.A., Gibney, P.A., Thomas, D.G., Brown, G., May, A.L., Campagna, S.R., Yakunin, A.F., Botstein, D., Rabinowitz, J.D. (2018). Discovery and Functional Characterization of a Yeast Sugar Alcohol Phosphatase. ACS Chem Biol. 13(10):3011-3020.
4. Nocek, B. P., Khusnutdinova, A. N., Ruszkowski, M., Flick, R., Burda, M., Batyrova, K. and Yakunin, A. F. (2018). Structural Insights into Substrate Selectivity and Activity of Bacterial Polyphosphate Kinases. ACS Catalysis. 8(11):10746-10760.
5. Hajighasemi, M., Tchigvintsev, A., Nocek, B.P., Flick, R., Popovic, A., Hai, T., Khusnutdinova, A.N., Brown, G., Xu, X., Cui, H. and Anstett, J. (2018). Screening and characterization of novel polyesterases from environmental metagenomes with high hydrolytic activity against synthetic polyesters. Environmental science & technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b04252.  
Burda‐Grabowska, M., Macegoniuk, K., Flick, R., Nocek, B.P., Joachimiak, A., Yakunin, A.F., Mucha, A. and Berlicki, Ł. (2018). Bisphosphonic acids and related compounds as inhibitors of nucleotide‐and polyphosphate‐processing enzymes: A PPK1 and PPK2 case study. Chemical biology & drug design. 2018:1-10.
7. Mauricio da Fonseca, M.J., Jurak, E., Kataja, K., Master, E.R., Berrin, J.G., Stals, I., Desmet, T., Van Landschoot, A., Briers, Y. (2018). Analysis of the substrate specificity of α-L-  arabinofuranosidases by DNA sequencer-aided fluorophore-assisted carbohydrate electrophoresis. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 102(23):10091-10102.
8. Kolliopoulos, G., Martin, J.T. and Papangelakis, V.G. (2018). Energy requirements in the separation-regeneration step in forward osmosis using TMA–CO2–H2O as the draw solution. Chemical Engineering Research and Design. 140:166-174.  
9. Sinichi, S., Siañez, A.V.L. and Diosady, L.L. (2018). Recovery of phenolic compounds from the by-products of yellow mustard protein isolation. Food Research International. 116: 460-466.   
 Aumala, V., Mollerup, F., Jurak, E., Blume, F., Karppi, J., Koistinen, A., Schuiten, E., Voss, M., Bornscheuer, U., Deska, J. and Master, E. (2019). Biocatalytic production of amino‐carbohydrates through oxidoreductase and transaminase cascades. ChemSusChem. 12:1-11
Please email us if you have something to add to the next edition of the BioZone Newsletter
Copyright © 2019 Biozone Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering, All rights reserved.

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