November 2019, Volume 29
  1. BZ Symposium
  2. BZ Holiday Party
  3. AD Centre of Excellence 
  4. Nigel Guilford Adjunct Status
  5. Fall Retreat
  6. BZ awards
  7. iGEM and CSBERG
  8. November Graduations
  9. BZ Recognition Awards
  10. BZ Teatime with Thermo Fisher
  11. New Publications

1. Upcoming BioZone Symposium

S A V E   T H E   D A T E
Nov 29, 2019. 

Mark your calendars for this year's BioZone Symposium! 
It will take place Nov 29, 9:00-13:30, in UC140, University College, 15 King's College Circle.

Keynote speaker: Prof. Barbara Sherwood Lollar

Coffee and lunch will be provided to all attendees who register on Eventbrite!



Sign up here! We still need presenters for:

  • 15 min talks
  • 3 minute theses
  • posters (recent conference posters welcome)
Prizes will be awarded for each category!

2. Upcoming BZ Holiday Party

This November we invite you and your family to celebrate another year at BioZone with us after the symposium! Stay tuned for the potluck dish signup sheet, and please register on Eventbrite for yourself and anyone accompanying you.


  • Potluck dinner
  • Awards for best appetizer, meat entree, vegetarian entree, dessert
  • BioZone Recognition Awards
  • Fun videos and activities from BZ Council

3. AD Centre of Excellence

BioZone has funding from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s Dean Strategic Fund to investigate the potential to establish an Anaerobic Digestion Centre of Excellence. Anaerobic digestion is an important technology for maintaining the long-term health and well-being of high-density urban populations. By degrading organic wastes from residential, commercial, and industrial sources, anaerobic digestion provides many benefits. It reduces the volume of wastes sent to landfills, it decreases fugitive greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, it produces renewable energy, either as renewable natural gas or combined heat and power and it returns nutrients contained in the digestate to the soil as fertilizer. Accordingly, interest is growing in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada in the application of anaerobic digestion for the treatment of waste waters and organic solid waste. Since there is interest in the private and public sectors to implement anaerobic digestion and the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering is already home to expertise, facilities and equipment actively used to study anaerobic digestion from lab to full scale, there is a case to be made for the creation of a Centre of Excellence for Anaerobic Digestion. This Centre will act as a focal point to increase the scale, scope, and impact of the research and education occurring in the Faculty.

If you are involved in AD research, or have experience or interest in AD, please come to see Joy in Room 410 and introduce yourself.
Joy Li joined BioZone as a Research Officer in October to develop support for the proposed Anaerobic Digestion Centre of Excellence by developing academic and industrial partnerships and evaluating its economic feasibility. She is a Professional Engineer with a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Toronto. She has 7 years of experience in engineering consulting for oil & gas industry, including water and wastewater treatment and a year of consulting experience in environmental approval.

4. An interview with Adjunct Professor Nigel Guilford

Nigel Guilford, previous Ph.D. student in Prof. Edwards’ lab, designed a novel waste digestion apparatus that can treat waste and produce biogas, known affectionately as Daisy. He became an adjunct professor at U of T in July 2018, and we conducted an interview with him to find out what he's up to now! Click here to read the full interview.

“I was a grad student for exactly 5 years, and they were the most rewarding and the most challenging 5 years of my working life.”

5. Fall Retreat

On October 19, we went to Chudleigh's Farm to pick apples, pumpkins, and eat apple blossoms. Eighteen BioZoners attended, making it one of the largest fall retreats yet. We all went home with full stomachs and plenty of apples!

6. BioZone Awards

Congratulations to Professor Levente Diosady for winning the R.S. Jane Memorial Award!

Professor Diosady was recently awarded the R.S. Jane Memorial Award from the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, which recognizes a person who has “made an exceptional achievement to the field of chemical engineering or industrial chemistry.” His research on using micronutrients to ensure good health has also led to him being recognized as an officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario, receiving the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and receiving the Officers’ Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit.

One of his most significant achievements was the creation of a nutrient-enriched seasoning via double fortified salt, which is now used in many states in India!

Our own Christian Euler from the Mahadevan lab recently attended FOSBE 2019 in València, Spain to compete in the research poster competition. Congratulations Christian on winning best poster at the conference!

The following is an abstract from his poster:

Evaluating the Performance of a Post-Translational Dynamic Metabolic Control System

Dynamic control is a common approach to solve the tradeoff between productivity and yield that exists in engineered microbial metabolisms. Here we explore the possibility of implementing a dynamic control strategy based on direct activity modulation of a hypothetical optogenetic enzyme. With this system we sought to understand whether such a strategy is practical for controlling flux partitioning between biomass and production pathways, and whether it could be used to explore the effect of switching time on the performance of dynamic control strategies. We find that, while a protein-level control system is likely feasible in a model metabolism, several barriers to implementation and performance exist. Based on these limitations we suggest that careful balancing of protein expression at the biomass-production split node is required to implement such a system.


Congratulations to the U of T iGEM team for their gold medal and "Best Manufacturing Project" nomination at this year's iGEM competition! Check out their project here, entitled "Accelerating Industrial Plastic Degradation with PETase".

BioZone has been supporting iGEM students at U of T for years by providing them with access to lab facilities. The newly-established Canadian Synthetic Biology Education Research Group (CSBERG) will be the first organization to act as a liaison between BioZone and iGEM, and formally recognize the mentorship work BioZone members have historically done for iGEM students.

The purpose of CSBERG is to facilitate better integration of iGEM into BioZone and to improve the training and supervision of iGEM students working in BioZone labs. CSBERG is also researching the current state of synthetic biology education of iGEM students across Canada, and developing a synthetic biology workshop series to be delivered at U of T in 2020.

CSBERG was founded by BioZone's very own Patrick Diep (3rd year PhD Candidate, Mahadevan/Yakunin), who is the program director of CSBERG. Several other BioZone students (Kavya Siddartha, Olivia Bulka, Nadia Morson) are involved in CSBERG as instructors and project support.

8. November Graduations

Congratulations to all our graduating students walking the stage this November! Make sure to come back and visit us when you move on to greater things!
Degree First name Group
MASc Raphael Joseph Gregory Arakelian Allen
MEng Qinyuan Gong Allen
MASc Lais Mazullo Mascarenhas Pereira Edwards
PhD Luz Adriana Puentes Jacome Edwards
MASc Chin Ting Chris Shyi Edwards
MASc Zhiqing Xu Mahadevan
MASc Orysia Meouch Master
PhD Adriana Gaona Gomez Saville

9. BZ Recognition Awards

This is your chance to recognize the efforts of these individuals (students, PDFs, Research Associates, Staff, and Professors) by nominating them here for a BioZone award!

We are accepting nominations for:

1. Technical Excellence Award. Please nominate individuals who have provided support, maintenance, or training for laboratory equipment that has gone beyond what is expected.

2. Community Service Award. Please nominate individuals whose extraordinary efforts make BioZone a more cohesive enjoyable place to work and study.

3. Innovation Award. Please nominate individuals who have had and implemented innovative ideas that have made BioZone a more interesting or productive place to work and study.

The awards will be presented at the BioZone Holiday Party.

10. BZ Teatime with Thermo Fisher

Thermofisher Scientific will have a product display and will sponsor teatime on Tuesday 3rd December. Do drop by for some snacks and to learn more about their products!

10. New Publications

  1. Qiao, W., Jácome, L.A.P., Tang, X., Lomheim, L., Yang, M.I., Gaspard, S., Avanzi, I.R., Wu, J., Ye, S. and Edwards, E.A. (2019). Microbial Communities Associated with Sustained Anaerobic Reductive Dechlorination of α-, β-, γ-, and δ-Hexachlorocyclohexane Isomers to Monochlorobenzene and BenzenebioRxiv, .770354.
  2. Jácome, L.A.P., Wang, P.H., Molenda, O., Xuan, Y., Islam, M.A. and Edwards, E.A. (2019). Sustained dechlorination of vinyl chloride to ethene in Dehalococcoides-enriched cultures grown without addition of exogenous vitamins and at low pHEnvironmental Science & Technology. 53(19):11364-11374.
  3. Li, N.T., Rodenhizer, D., Mou, J., Shahaj, A., Samardzic, K. and McGuigan, A.P. (2019). Development of a bioprinting approach for automated manufacturing of multi-cell type biocomposite TRACER strips using contact capillary-wicking. Biofabrication, 12(1):015001.
  4. Guilford, N.G., Lee, H.P., Kanger, K., Meyer, T. and Edwards, E.A. (2019). Solid state anaerobic digestion of mixed organic waste: the synergistic effect of food waste addition on the destruction of paper and cardboard. Environmental Science & Technology. 53(21):12677-12687
Please email us if you have something to add to the next edition of the BioZone Newsletter
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