Research Interests

My research group is loosely structured in 5 research clusters:

  1. Biomass Pretreatment
    Thermal, chemical (ionic liquids), mechanical and biological pre-treatment methods for lignocellulosic biomass are investigated. Effects of potential fermentation inhibitors are quantified in miniaturized high-throughput experiments.

  2. Ethanol and Butanol Fermentation
    Research focuses on in-situ product removal and process compression, as well as on reactor design and mathematical modeling. Scale related work investigate key process parameters from micro-scale, via bench-scale to pilot-scale.

  3. Micro-Algae Cultivation
    Genetic tools are being developed to enhance the production of high value chemicals in micro-algae. Additional work investigates ionic liquid-based lipid extraction and the continuous CO2 to lipid conversion for biodiesel production.

  4. Recombinant Protein Production
    Therapeutic proteins are being expressed in insect cells through the Baculovirus system. Protein purification and downstream processing is a secondary research focus.

  5. Bioassay Development for Emerging Contaminants
    Various bioassays for the quantification of genotoxicity and estrogenicity of micro-pollutants and their degradation products are being investigated in this cluster.

Group Members

  • Dr. Erin Johnson, Research Engineer (NSERC/Newalta),
    research topic: "Butanol production from clyerol"

  • Dr. Priyanka Saxena, Research Engineer (OCE/Germiphene),
    research topic: "Efficancy assays for sterility applications"

  • Dr. Yi-Kai (Ethan) Su, PDF,
    research topic: "Insitu product removal in butanol fermentations"

  • Dr. Luis Luque, PDF
    research topic: "Organic acid fermentation"

  • Tahereh Sarchami, PhD candidate,
    thesis topic: "Bioreactor Design for Extractive Ethanol and Butanol Fermentation"

  • Kai Gao, PhD candidate,
    thesis topic: "Butanol Production via Syngas Fermentation"

  • Valerie Orr, PhD candidate (NSERC CGS scholar),
    thesis topic: "Sustainable Polygeneration of High Value Chemicals from Microalgae: The Biorefinery Concept"

  • Shreyas Yedahalli, PhD candidate,
    thesis topic: "Genetical Engineering of Microalgae for Lipid Secretion"

  • Junwoo Kim, PhD candidate,
    thesis topic: "Effect of micropollutants on microalgae communities in mesocosms"

  • Bilal Al-Bataina, PhD Student (NSERC IPS scholar),
    research topic: "Diagnostic systems and biofilm control in dental offices"

  • Garret Munch, PhD Student,
    research topic: "Continous buntanol fermentation"

  • Eric Doerr, MESc candidate,
    thesis topic: "Bio-Hydrogen and butanol fermentation via mixed-culture fermentation"

  • Sascha Kießlich, MESc candidate,
    thesis topic: "Pervaporative butanol removal from continuous fermentation"


  • Mark Weatherall, Medical School
  • Dr. Jun Zheng, PDF, University of Western Ontario
  • Dr. Jeff Wood PDF, Engineering, Twente University, Netherlands
  • Sura Ali Senior Microbiologist, Germiphene, Ontario
  • Chen Feng Graduate student
  • Simone Boiano Graduate student
  • Anna Garruto Graduate student
  • Malihe Alaaf, PhD Student, Biology, Western University
  • Dr. Priyanka Saxena, PDF, Guelph
  • Adrian McNeely, Life Agent at American Income Life
  • Thomas Krieg, PhD Student, Germany
  • Dr. Xiaofei Tian, Post-Doc
  • Alexander Nikolay, MESc candidate at Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical System
  • Raphael Gräter, MESc candidate at University of Applied Science Biberach
  • Malihe Mehdizadeh Allaf, Research Assistant at UWO
  • Vivek Nagendra, Research Associate at Apotex Pharmachem India Pvt. Ltd
  • Karen Schwab, PhD Student at University of Applied Science Biberach
  • Kerstin Schwanitz, unknown
  • Julian Smith, Intern at Lanxess
  • Ershat Nayup, Graduate student at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
  • Chad Grey, Student at CBE

Historical Photos

2013 Photo

2013-14 Group Photo

2012 Group Photo

2012 Group Photo

2013 Photo

2013 Group Photo

2012 Group Photo

2010 Group Photo

Opportunities in My Group

The research is highly interdisciplinary and there are occasional openings for new graduate students.