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June 2021, Volume 38
  1. Welcome new BioZoners!
  2. Upcoming BZ Events
  3. NEW: Summer Science Art Competition
  4. BZ Summer Walking Challenge
  5. RECAP: BZ Sustainable Food Week
  6. RECAP: Science Rendezvous
  7. 2021 Geosyntec Groundwater Student Paper Competition Winners
  8. Biomanufacturing Training and Innovation Workshop
  9. New Publications

1. Welcome new BioZoners!

Thank you to everyone who presented and attended the BioZone orientation on June 1. We are pleased to welcome the graduate students, research fellows, summer students and interns under the CREATE program who have joined or will join BioZone this summer:
  • Jens Kastenhofer (PDF, Allen lab)
  • Jinghao (Luke) Wu (MEng, Mahadevan lab)
  • Mara Jezernik (Lawson lab)
  • Joel Howard (Lawson lab)
  • Ian Gois (Lawson lab)
  • Ethan Agena (Lawson lab)
Summer students:
  • Connor Bowers (Edwards lab)
  • Miya Tseng-West (Edwards lab and Mahadevan lab)
  • Chelsea Nguyen (Mahadevan lab)
  • Li Hui (Jane) Xie (McGuigan lab)
  • Michelle Nurse (McGuigan lab)
  • Minnie Menezes (McGuigan lab)
  • Judy Xia (McGuigan lab)
  • Vincent Wang (Allen lab)
  • Erin Ng (Diosady lab)
  • Krisco Cheung (Diosady lab)
  • Melinda Szarics (Diosady lab)
  • Nadia Davoudvandi (Master lab)
CREATE Intern Students:
  • Alison Ashley Yu (Master lab)
  • Ellen Y An (Master lab)
  • Ian Harbell (Master lab)
Welcome to BioZone!

2. Upcoming BZ Events

Summer Kick-off Mixer

It’s time for another Zoom mixer!

Hopefully we can have in-person social events soon, but until then we can still socialize virtually! After the success of our past two breakout room social mixers, we will be hosting another to welcome all the new students and staff this summer, and attach some faces to some names.

This mixer will take place on Friday, June 18, from 5-7 pm, so save the date and pull up a chair to chat with some old friends and make some new ones!

BZ Trivia Night – Stay Tuned!

Keep an eye out for an announcement for our upcoming BioZone Trivia Night (date TBD)! In the meantime, you can start forming teams and coming up with winning team names!

3. NEW: Summer Science Art Competition

Do you ever look at your work and think "wow, science is beautiful"? Then this is the competition for you!

BioZone is hosting its first annual scientific art competition! We want you to create a two-dimensional art piece based on research happening in BioZone (think microscopy shots, petri dish art, crystal structures, digital art based on data, etc) and submit it to us by the end of summer for voting. The winner’s art will be featured on the walls of WB407.

You have all summer to think creatively! Traditional works (paintings, drawings, etc) and digital works (photos, data manipulation, digital drawings, etc) are both accepted.

Submit to BZC by Friday, August 13 (details to come), and ask us any questions you have in the meantime!

4. BZ Summer Walking Challenge

Step into the pandemic summer with BZ 6,000 daily step challenge!

Did you know that regular activity can improve our mental and physical health?

During this challenge, let’s pay attention to how many steps we take in a day as we commute to WB, walk within the building or exercise.

This challenge will grant you one point per day if you get in at least 6,000 steps. Don’t worry if you cannot reach 6,000 steps in the beginning! Start slow but steady!

Get out of your seats and move!
 

How to join the challenge:

1. Download the App: ‘Pacer - Pedometer & Step Tracker’ (Apple | Android).

2. Scan the QR code below or head to explore --> challenges and enter challenge code: BHM1428

3. Join the challenge and start steppin’!

4. Celebrate your success at the end of the challenge.

Gift cards will be awarded to individuals with the highest points accumulated.
The challenge starts on June 15 and ends on Aug 13, 2021.

It is never too soon to get moving. Register now!

5. RECAP: BioZone Sustainable Food Week

Big thanks to all participants of our Earth Week events!

Adopt a Tomato Plant:
  • 28 tomato plants were adopted
  • $370 was donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto
  • Check out the “BioZone Social-Tomato Baby Updates” channel on Teams for photo updates
  • Special thanks, again, to Courtney Toth and Tim Leshuk!

Food-themed Tea Time:

  • Kiki Chan, Azadeh Vatandoust and Folake Oyewole, graduate students in the Diosady lab, were our food engineering experts
  • We had a wonderful discussion on nutrition and food insecurity in our global and local communities

Documentary Screening: Netflix’s Rotten – “The Avocado War” (Season 2 Episode 1)

  • We had a wonderful discussion during and after the episode to discuss our role in food systems: overconsumption and accessibility despite seasonality
  • Did you know that U.S. Super Bowl viewers consume close to 48,000 metric tonnes of avocados in the form of guacamole in a single day?!

Vegan Dinner Cook-Along: Jade Noodles

  • Each dish was created differently, but they all turned out delicious!
  • Check out the “BioZone_green_initiatives” channel for the recipe

Gift Card Draw

  • Our winner of the $25 gift card was Camilla Nesbø, a bioinformatician for BioZone and the Edwards lab
  • Camilla made the honourable decision to donate her prize to UNICEF Canada to aid in global COVID-19 vaccine distribution


Stay tuned for future theme week events in BioZone this summer!

6. RECAP: Science Rendezvous

Science Rendezvous, the annual city-wide science festival, was held virtually this year on Saturday, May 8th. BioZoners gave an interactive presentation about composting introducing how organisms break down food waste and how composting helps the Earth!

Thank you to our volunteers Olivia Bulka, Chester Pham, Owen Mototsune, Katherine Picott, Anupama Sharan, and Emma Harrison for representing BioZone and engaging with the community!

7. 2021 Geosyntec Groundwater Student Paper Competition Winners at BZ

Two BioZone graduate students received prizes in this year's Geosyntec Groundwater Paper Competition

Suchana Shamsunnahar (Passeport lab) won a second place prize for her paper entitled "Compound Specific Isotope Analysis of NO2- and NH2-Substituted Chlorobenzenes at sub-µg/L Levels Using In Situ Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler".

Katherine Picott (Edwards lab) won a third place prize for her paper, "Expression and Characterization of Reductive Dehalogenases for Bioremediation".

Congratulations, Suchana and Katherine!

8. Biomanufacturing Training & Innovation Workshop 

A Biomanufacturing Training & Innovation Workshop was recently hosted by U of T that saw the involvement of nearly 100 attendees from across academia, government and industry, including BZ Professor Krishna Mahadevan. 

Strategies, priorities, and gaps related to Canadian biomanufacturing training, research and innovation, knowledge translation and infrastructure were discussed. Read more about the event here.

9. New Publications

  1. Bahlmann, L.C., Baker, A.E., Xue, C., Liu, S., Meier‐Merziger, M., Karakas, D., Zhu, L., Co, I., Zhao, S., Chin, A. and McGuigan, A. (2021). Gelatin‐Hyaluronan Click‐Crosslinked Cryogels Elucidate Human Macrophage Invasion Behavior. Advanced Functional Materials, p.2008400.
  2. Momeni, M.H., Fredslund, F., Bissaro, B., Raji, O., Vuong, T.V., Meier, S., Nielsen, T.S., Lombard, V., Guigliarelli, B., Biaso, F. and Haon, M. (2021). Discovery of fungal oligosaccharide-oxidising flavo-enzymes with previously unknown substrates, redox-activity profiles and interplay with LPMOs. Nature communications12(1):1-13.
  3. Puentes Jácome, L.A., Lomheim, L., Gaspard, S. and Edwards, E.A. (2021). Biodegradation of Lindane (γ-Hexachlorocyclohexane) To Nontoxic End Products by Sequential Treatment with Three Mixed Anaerobic Microbial Cultures. Environmental Science & Technology. 55(5):2968-2979.
  4. Lomheim, L., Flick, R., Rambinaising, S., Gaspard, S. and Edwards, E.A., 2021Identification of a fully dechlorinated product of chlordecone in soil microcosms and enrichment cultures. bioRxiv. 
  5. Davenport Huyer, L., Mandla, S., Wang, Y., Campbell, S.B., Yee, B., Euler, C., Lai, B.F., Bannerman, A.D., Lin, D.S., Montgomery, M. and Nemr, K. (2021). Macrophage Immunomodulation Through New Polymers that Recapitulate Functional Effects of Itaconate as a Power House of Innate Immunity. Advanced Functional Materials31(6):2003341.
  6. Stephens, S., Mahadevan, R. and Allen, D.G. (2021). Engineering Photosynthetic Bioprocesses for Sustainable Chemical Production: A Review. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology8:1469.
  7. Giannari, D., Ho, C.H. and Mahadevan, R. (2021). A gap-filling algorithm for prediction of metabolic interactions in microbial communities. bioRxiv. 
  8. Raj, K., Venayak, N., Diep, P., Golla, S.A., Yakunin, A.F. and Mahadevan, R. (2021). Automation assisted anaerobic phenotyping for metabolic engineering. bioRxiv.
  9. Evdokias, G., Semper, C., Mora-Ochomogo, M., Di Falco, M., Nguyen, T.T.M., Savchenko, A., Tsang, A. and Benoit-Gelber, I. (2021). Identification of a Novel Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Aspergillus niger Using Comparative Genomics. Journal of Fungi7(5):374.
  10. Paraskevopoulos, M. and McGuigan, A.P. (2021). Application of CRISPR screens to investigate mammalian cell competition. Briefings in Functional Genomics. 
  11. Pieters, V.M., Co, I.L., Wu, N.C. and McGuigan, A.P. (2021). Applications of Omics Technologies for Three-Dimensional In Vitro Disease Models. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods. 27(3):183-199.
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