July 2017, Volume 13


The BioZone Council is excited to announce our BioZone Fall Retreat will be a trip to the Hamilton waterfalls! We will do some hiking, some picnicking, and finally some relaxing at a restaurant back in Toronto. Stay tuned for more information in the next BioZone Newsletter!

News & Events

BioZone PIs Awarded Two ORF-RE 8 Grants

BioZone PIs are leading two Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence (ORF-RE) round 8 applications. Each project is worth $12M over 5 years with a $4M contribution from the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

The goal of the Biochemicals from Cellulosic Biomass (BioCeB) project is to replace petroleum-derived chemicals with green, sustainable chemicals made from renewable forestry and agricultural waste products. BioCeB will use computational metabolic engineering methods to create bacteria and yeasts with the capacity to convert sugars derived from the processing of wood fibre and agricultural residue into a set of chemical building blocks capable of producing many commercially-valuable polymers such as nylon. Project partners such as BioAmber, IGPC, and Lallemand will aid in the translation of project discoveries into commercial technologies and help Canada transition to a lower carbon intensity economy. This project is led by Radhakrishnan Mahadevan, from the University of Toronto, with Kristin Baetz from the University of Ottawa. The project team includes Jim Millis and Kit Lau from BioAmber, Alexander Yakunin from the University of Toronto, Vince Martin from Concordia University, and Alexei Savchenko from the University of Calgary.


Base metal extraction from sulfide minerals across Canada has created large volumes of sulfide-laden waste tailings and rocks. This waste poses a significant acid mine drainage risk. The Elements of Bio-Mining (EBM) project aims to make the remediation of legacy mine waste economically feasible by harnessing the capabilities of microbial communities to stabilize wastes while simultaneously allowing for commercial base metal recovery. Additionally, EBM aspires to help mine sites reduce the risk of selenium being released into the environment at toxic levels. EBM partners such as Barrick, CEMI, CIMIC, Denison Environmental, ERM, Glencore, Hatch, Mirarco, Teck, and Vale are working with the project to better understanding the biological processes that act on waste rock and tailings and influence metal solubility. The project is led by Vlad Papangelakis (University of Toronto) along with Elizabeth Edwards (University of Toronto), Nadia Mykytczuk (Laurentian University), and Sue Baldwin (University of British Columbia) . The team also includes Radhakrishnan Mahadevan, Brad Saville, Alexander Yakunin, and Erin Bobicki at the University of Toronto, Chantal Barriault, John Gunn, and Thomas Merritt at Laurentian University, and Alexei Savchenko at the University of Calgary.

How to Make Your Graduate School Applications Stand Out from the Rest, written by Eleanor M. Jennings

Although many of us are already in graduate school, the sage advice of Prof. Elizabeth Edwards in this ASM article still holds true! "For a graduate student to be successful,… first and foremost there has to be a keen passion for knowledge, and a belief that this quest for knowledge and deep understanding will make the world a better place. For a grad school application to be successful, this passion needs to be evident. Passion can be manifested in many different ways, but it has to be real, driven by some motivation to work for a better future, fueled by personal experiences and prior work. But it can’t be naive either. There has to be understanding of existing constraints, recognition of the tough slog ahead, and of the importance of listening to and learning from others and building knowledge in partnerships.”  So, whether you continue on in your current program, are seeking an additional graduate program or are interested in a full-time job, keep this in mind. Always let your passion for your work shine through! You can read the rest of the article for more wisdom from Prof. Edwards, and other distinguished faculty members from universities in North America.
Lords of the Ring
The Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) has published a feature on Prof. Elizabeth Edwards’ benzene remediation research called 'Lords of the Ring'. You can read it here:

Awards & Grants

Upcoming Deadlines for Award Applications
For Masters students that are interested, applications for the NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship for Masters students (CGS-M) are due on December 1st, 2017 for the 2018-2019 academic year. For Doctoral students, applications for the NSERC CGSD (doctoral stream) are due on October 15th, 2017 for the 2018-2019 academic year. In addition, SGS offers a variety of other scholarships. For more information, visit:

BioZone Insider 

IT Safety with Dean
The first round of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s phishing education campaign is completed, and there have been some lessons learned during this first round.  The email messages were well-crafted, but they had alternate avenues for faculty and staff to take to verify the contents, which caused people to reach

out to HR for the summer hours email, and to Robarts staff for the SIRSI notice, which caused some issues.  The company being used is called PhishMe, and other faculties have already started this education process as well.  For more information on security issues, please visit -
The Delphi Group is Hiring
The Delphi Group is hiring junior and senior staff (technical/engineering primarily, but not exclusively) to support our sustainability and climate change work. They are looking for individuals who are restless in traditional environmental consulting roles and looking to work somewhere that is less about the consulting grind and more about making a positive contribution to sustainability while balancing work and life.

If you are interested, please visit the careers section of their LinkedIn page. You can also contact Stephan Wehr, P.Eng., Vice President of The Delphi Group, directly. | Tel: 613 562 2005 ext. 232 | Mobile: 613 323 2459 | 428 Gilmour Street, Ottawa ON

We care about your health and wellness!

Have you ever felt pain after working for hours and hours in the lab? Neck pain? Back pain?

Did you know it is extremely important to stretch every day before and after working in repetitive activities? Take 5 minutes of your day to avoid problems in the future!

Visit the UofT Ergonomics Website for more information about office and daily activities ergonomics. 

Take care not only of your mind, but also your body!

Recent Publications

Golyshina, O. V., Tran, H., Reva, O. N., Lemak, S., Yakunin, A. F., Goesmann, A., Nechitaylo, T. Y., Lacono, V., Smedile, F., Slesarev, A., Rojo, D., Barbas, C., Ferrer, M., Yakimov, M. M. & Golyshin, P. N. Metabolic and evolutionary patterns in the extremely acidophilic archaeon Ferroplasma acidiphilum YT. Sci. Rep. 7, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03904-5 (2017).

Khojasteh Salkuyeh, Y., Saville, B. A. & MacLean, H. L. Techno-economic analysis and life cycle assessment of hydrogen production from natural gas using current and emerging technologies. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2017.05.219 (2017).

Mai-Gisondi, G., Maaheimo, H., Chong, S. L., Hinz, S., Tenkanen, M. & Master, E. Functional comparison of versatile carbohydrate esterases from families CE1, CE6 and CE16 on acetyl-4-O-methylglucuronoxylan and acetyl-galactoglucomannan. Biochim. Biophys. Acta Gen. Subj., doi:10.1016/j.bbagen.2017.06.002 (2017).

Meyer, T., Chen, X., Tran, H. N., Allen, D. G. & Edwards, E. A. Natural Freezing-Thawing and Its Impact on Dewaterability and Anaerobic Digestibility of Biosludge. Environ. Eng. Sci. 34, 357-366, doi:10.1089/ees.2016.0372 (2017).


Please email us if you have something to add to the next edition of the BioZone Newsletter
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