September 2018, Volume 22
  1. BioZone Horizons
  2. Welcome New BioZone Students
  3. Congratulations to BioZone Graduates
  4. BioZone Fall Symposium 2018 Update
  5. UnERD
  6. Student/Postdoc Spotlight
  7. BioZone Summer Social 2018 - Wonderland
  8. New Publications

1. BioZone Horizons

BioZone Horizons is an excellent opportunity for current students to learn from BioZone Alumni, and others, about their experiences finding job opportunities after graduating. In addition, there will also be a team building exercise for everyone to attend, and a poster session for people to share how their research can be applied to industry. Lunch will also be provided.

BioZone Horizons will be held on
Friday September 28th from 10 am - 5 pm in Wilson Hall (New College) Room 1017. 

Don't miss out on hearing from some great speakers -  please register here:

If you are interested in presenting a poster at Horizons, you can sign up here :

2. Welcome New BioZone Members

We are pleased to introduce the new students and research fellows who joined Biozone in July, August and September. Welcome to all and best of luck during your time here. Please click on image for larger version.

3. Congratulations to BioZone Graduates

                                             Congratulations to the following BioZone students who graduated:
Aakash Engineer - M.Eng. - Diosady Lab
Masood Khaksar - PhD - Mahadevan Lab
Rachel Kwan - M.A.Sc. - Master Lab
HyunWoo Lee - M.A.Sc - Edwards Lab
Corina Ramirez - M.Eng. - Allen Lab

Best of luck to all in your future endeavors!

4. BioZone Fall Symposium 2018 

The fall semester is just around the corner, which means the BioZone Fall Symposium is coming up. The BioZone symposium is a biannual event aimed at showcasing the excellent research going on throughout BioZone. The date, time, and location of this fall's event will be announced shortly, so keep an eye on your emails for that update.

In the meantime, the BioZone council will soon be inviting all BioZone members to sign up for presentations in the following categories.

  1. 15-minute Presentation
  2. 3-minute Thesis Competition
  3. Poster Presentation

There will be prizes to be won for each category! This event is an excellent opportunity to showcase the hard work you have put into your research, and gain valuable feedback from your peers. Keep an eye out for a signup link to be circulated soon!

Tentative date is
Friday November 30th from 1 - 6 pm.

5. UnERD 

The Undergraduate Research Day (UnERD) was held Tuesday August 14 in the Bahen Centre. Our own summer students Henry Wu (Allen Lab), Erica Wang (Allen Lab), and Ge Lan Wang (Diosady Lab) all presented posters based on their work over the summer. All of their presentations were spectacularly well done, and we wish all of our summer students the best as they return to classes this September! 

6. Student/Postdoc Spotlight

This month’s Student Spotlight is on Scott Proulx, a PhD student in the Mahadevan lab. See the abstract below for details on Scott's research interests.
  1. So Scott, tell me about your research.
    • I’m a second-year PhD student in Professor Mahadevan’s lab. I study metabolic engineering of E. coli to produce non-natural chemicals such as adipic acid, which is used to make nylon. I particularly enjoy using metabolic models to predict genetic strategies to increase production of these chemicals and implementing them in the lab. So basically I use computer simulations to design bacteria, then go and make those changes in the genome to make some industrially relevant chemical.
  2. Why did you choose Professor Mahadevan’s lab?
    • This is actually kind of a funny story. When I came to Graduate Research Days back in 2015, I for some reason hadn’t considered Professor Mahadevan’s lab, as I had written down other professors at the time. After going to the poster session and eating lunch, somebody came up and started chatting with me. Eventually they realized that I was in the biotechnology program at University of Ottawa and they said, “You know, a lot of people from Ottawa go to Professor Mahadevan’s lab. You should check them out.” And so I did. And I’m glad that I signed up for an interview with Professor Mahadevan, because after just a short chat with him, I was sold. The Laboratory for Systems and Metabolic Engineering is a unique place where you can see a direct correlation between engineering and biochemistry which is basically what I’ve always wanted to study.
  3. What are your hobbies outside of work?
    • I’m pretty musically inclined. I know I don’t look like it, but I’m a big fan of heavy metal music. I used to have a band back in Ottawa – I sang and played bass guitar, and I absolutely loved playing shows in front of friends and strangers! I guess I’m currently on the lookout for the next big act to join. It could prove useful as a backup career if my science career doesn’t work out haha!
  4. What is the best memory you have in BioZone?
    • Holiday Party 2017 for sure. Spencer, myself and 10 other eager grad students all got up in front of BioZone and sang “The 12 Years of Grad School”. I also won best appetizer for my cheese-stuffed mushroom caps. Of course I’m sure the BioZone Holiday Party 2018 will be even better!
  5. What advice would you give new grad students?
    • If you’re a new grad student, remember that balance is everything. Get involved, keep busy, but don’t let these things interfere with your everyday life. Your health is important. Don’t forget to eat. Exercise. Your mental health is also very important, especially in grad school. Just remember that you’re not alone – many other graduate students have gone through very similar experiences. We’ve all been there. Don’t be shy!
  6. What is the best thing about BioZone?
    • The friendships. I honestly don’t think I would have formed such strong bonds between friends if we didn’t have this collaboration. I’m absolutely sure I’m going to be friends with many of these folks for many years to come.
  7. In a parallel universe, what profession would you choose?
    • When I was in middle school, I remember saying “Mom, I think that when I grow up, I want to either be a doctor or an expert on global affairs and politics.”, to which my mom said, “Those are very different things Scott…”. I guess I eventually did pick the doctor route. Just not the medical kind I initially thought I wanted to be, but the philosophical kind!

Adipic acid is an important chemical precursor used for the production of nylon. Traditional production of adipic acid requires the use of petrochemical feedstocks and nitric acid, which creates potent greenhouse gases, a process which is neither sustainable nor environmentally conscious. Approximately 80% of the world’s nitric oxide emissions originate from industrial production of adipic acid. Production of chemicals in microorganisms such as Escherichia coli which use renewable sugar-based feedstocks has been suggested as a renewable and environmentally benign alternative. A chemical precursor to adipic acid itself, muconic acid, has been produced at high levels in E. coli before, but there is room for improvement in terms of efficiency.  The aim is to use computational methods to calculate non-intuitive genetic strategies that will produce muconic acid more efficiently than rational design strategies. Engineered designs will then be created in the lab using genetic modification tools. The performances of the strains will be tested and compared by performing fermentation experiments and using analytical equipment such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to measure metabolite concentrations to a high degree of accuracy.

7. BioZone Summer Social 2018 - Wonderland

On August 13th, Scott, Mitchell, Ruhi, Kaushik, Khorcheska, Kavya, Ana, Dahzi and Lais, ventured to the far north of the GTA to visit Wonderland for the BioZone Summer Social. Canada's Wonderland is Canada's largest amusement park. It contains 330 acres of roller coasters, rides, games, and a full water park.

In order to fulfill Scott's life long dream of riding all of the roller coasters at Wonderland, the group stayed until 10PM. This proved to be a challenge because everyone started to feel groggy in the afternoon due to the motion sickness pills consumed in the morning. 

8. New Publications July/August 2018

July 2018
  1. Saville, B. and Saville, S. (2018) Xylooligosaccharides and Arabinoxylanoligosaccharides and Their Application as Prebiotics. Applied Food Biotechnology. 5(3): 121-130.
  2. Chen, B.K. and Diosady, L.L. (2018) Production of food-grade canola proteins by memberane-based process.International News on Fats, Oils and Related Material.29(1):14-17.

August 2018
  1. Cao, A., Alluqmani, N., Buhari, F.H.M., Wasim, L., Smith, L.K., Quaile, A.T., Shannon, M., Hakim, Z., Furmli, H., Owen, D.M. and Savchenko, A. (2018). Galectin-9 binds IgM-BCR to regulate B cell signalingNature Communications9(1):3288.
  2. Molenda, O., Tang, S., Lomheim, L., Gautam, V.K., Lemak, S., Yakunin, A.F., Maxwell, K.L. and Edwards, E.A. (2018). Extrachromosomal circular elements targeted by CRISPR-Cas in Dehalococcoides mccartyi are linked to mobilization of reductive dehalogenase genes. The ISME journal.DOI:10.1038/s41396-018-0254-2
Please email us if you have something to add to the next edition of the BioZone Newsletter
Copyright © 2018 Biozone Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering, All rights reserved.

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