October 2017, Volume 16
  1. BioZone Fall Research Symposium 2017
  2. BioZone Council Elections 2018
  3. Natural fibres: New yeast strains could turn plant waste into fabrics
  4. Ardra, a renewable chemicals and BioZone startup, awarded funding
  5. Special Guest at BioZone Tea Time: James Stuart from the Entrepreneurship Hatchery
  6. Recent Publications

1. BioZone Fall Research Symposium 2017

The BioZone Council is once again hosting a Research Symposium this fall on Friday November 10th, 2017 from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM in UC179, as always, refreshments and pizza will be provided. BioZone Research Symposiums are designed to facilitate the sharing of research outcomes, ideas, methodologies, and promote collaborations between BioZone research groups and beyond. The symposium will include 15-minute PowerPoint Presentations, 3-minute Thesis Presentations, and a presentation from our invited speaker.

The invited speaker for the event is Prof. Ted Sargent, a University Professor in the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. Prof Sargent received his B.Sc.Eng. from Queen's University in 1995, his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Photonics) from the University of Toronto in 1998 and has held visiting professorships at MIT, UCLA, and Berkeley. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology and also serves as Vice President - International for the University of Toronto. His book, The Dance of Molecules: How Nanotechnology is Changing Our Lives (Penguin) was published in Canada and the United States in 2005 and has been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Korean, and Arabic. He is also the founder and CTO of InVisage Technologies and a co-founder of Xagenic. His current work applies discoveries in nanoscience towards applications relevant to energy, health, and sensing.

This event is open to everyone and all BioZone members are strongly encouraged to attend.

Please Register Today!


2. BioZone Council Elections 2018

Join the BioZone Council! Accepting Applications Now.
Are you interested in being more involved in the BioZone community? Do you have ideas for making BioZone better? Do you just want to do more at UofT but don’t know what? If you answered yes to any of these questions, joining the BioZone Council is the perfect answer!

The BioZone Council is comprised of a group of students that organize the: BioZone Research Symposiums, Fall Retreat, Holiday Party, Newsletter, and more. We are looking for new people to join our team starting this December/January. Formal elections are dependent on the number of applications received for each position.

Applications are open for the following positions:
Co-Presidents (2) / Internal Communication Coordinator (1-2) / External Relations Coordinator (1-2) / Events Coordinator (1-2) / Industrial Relations Coordinator (1) / Treasurer (1)

Interested applicants, please inquire or send this application form to with a very brief explanation of your interest and qualifications. Deadline is November 24th, 2017.

3. Natural fibres: New yeast strains could turn plant waste into fabrics

Nylon — used in everything from clothing to car parts to toothbrush bristles — is derived from oil, a nonrenewable fossil fuel. A team of researchers from U of T Engineering is working on a way to make the same chemical from a renewable source: plants.
"Nylon is a copolymer made from two monomers: one is hexamethylene diamine, and the other is adipic acid," says Professor Krishna Mahadevan (ChemE) the principal investigator on the project. "Our goal is to use yeast to make these chemicals from sugars, instead of from oil."
Most sugar is harvested from crops such as sugarcane and corn. But these sugars are costly due to high demand for their use in food and as feedstock for ethanol fuel. Instead, Mahadevan and his collaborators — which include Professors Alexander Yakunin (ChemE), Alexei Savchenko (University of Calgary), Kristin Baetz (University of Ottawa) and Vincent Martin (Concordia University) — are targeting lower-cost sugars derived from cellulose, the world’s most abundant natural polymer.

For the rest of the article, click here.
Chemical engineering PhD candidate Kayla Nemr and Professor Krishna Mahadevan grow yeast in a bioreactor. Along with their collaborators, they are using these organisms to transform bark, leaves and stems into the chemical building blocks of materials such as nylon. (Photo: Tyler Irving)

4. Ardra, a renewable chemicals and BioZone startup, awarded funding

Ontario Genomics is investing $100,000 in Ardra Inc.from its Pre-Commercial Business Development Fund. Ardra is a specialty chemicals company focused on the production of natural ingredients for the cosmetics and flavour and fragrance industries. Their synthetic biology platform uses designer biochemical pathways to produce a large portfolio of high-value products.

Ardra’s development pipeline has two ingredients: 1) natural butylene glycol used in cosmetics, and 2) green leaf volatiles used in flavours and fragrances. The investment will advance the development of natural leaf aldehyde, a green leaf volatile used in green apple flavour, and as a scent in perfumery.
The cosmetics and flavour and fragrances industries are dominated by petrochemical-derived ingredients, as natural ingredients have fluctuating and high prices along with seasonal variations. Ardra’s processes use renewable feedstock such as agricultural or forestry biomass, and engineered microbes to allow for low cost production and a steady supply of natural ingredients at a constant price.

Ardra is a Canadian start-up spun out of BioZone at the University of Toronto’s Department of Chemical Engineering. The CEO, Dr. Pratish Gawand and the CSO, Dr. Jonas Müller were both post-doctoral fellows in the laboratory of Prof. R. Mahadevan. Their technology builds on work done in the BEEM project that was previously funded by Genome Canada.

Click here for the full announcement on the Ontario Genomics website. 

5. Special Guest at BioZone Tea Time

Look out for our special guest at BioZone Tea Time: James Stuart, the LaunchLab Program Lead from the UofT Entrepreneurship Hatchery. He would like to informally catch up with our students, and talk to you about what the Hatchery can offer you. James visited last week at Tea Time, and discussed opportunities with many students. He will be popping in during the next few weeks to continue talking to the students about their ideas. Hope to see you chatting with James at the next Tea Time!

6. Recent Publications

Azimi, Y., Liu, Y., Tan, T. C., Allen, D. G. & Farnood, R. R. The tail of two models: Impact of circularity and biomass non-homogeneity on UV disinfection of wastewater flocs. Water Res. 126, 70-78, doi:10.1016/j.watres.2017.09.011 (2017).
Guzman, I., Thorpe, S. J. & Papangelakis, V. G. Redox potential measurements during pressure oxidation (POX) refractory gold ore. Canadian Metallurgical Quarterly. 1-8, doi: 10.1080/00084433.2017.1386363 (2017).

Partow, S., Hyland, P.B., & Mahadevan, R. Synthetic rescue couples NADPH generation to metabolite overproduction in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Metab Eng. 43, 64-70, doi:10.1016/j.ymben.2017.08.004 (2017).

Sarv, V., Trass, O. & Diosady, L. L. Preparation and Characterization of Camelina sativa Protein Isolates and Mucilage. JAOCS J Am Oil Chem Soc, 1-7, doi:10.1007/s11746-017-3031-x (2017).

Woolman, M., Tata, A., Dara, D., Meens, J., D'Arcangelo, E., Perez, C. J., Saiyara Prova, S., Bluemke, E., Ginsberg, H. J., Ifa, D., McGuigan, A., Ailles, L. & Zarrine-Afsar, A. Rapid determination of the tumour stroma ratio in squamous cell carcinomas with desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI-MS): A proof-of-concept demonstration. Analyst 142, 3250-3260, doi:10.1039/c7an00830a (2017
Please email us if you have something to add to the next edition of the BioZone Newsletter
Copyright © 2017 Biozone Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering, All rights reserved.

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