ECOSCOPE Program Director

Dr. Steven Hallam is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and Leopold Leadership Fellow. His lab specializes in the field of microbial ecological genomics and genetics with specific emphasis on the creation of computational tools for taxonomic and functional binning, population genome assembly, functional screening, and comparative community analysis. He is the co-founder of Koonkie, a cloud-based ecoinformatics services provider and Ekosense, an analytical services company that combines geochemical and genomic parameter information for field diagnostics and source tracking.


Dr. Susan Baldwin is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. She spent the early part of her career working in the mining and energy industries before returning to university to study her two passions: mathematics and biology. Dr. Baldwin found synthesis of her training and interests in the fields of biomonitoring and bioremediation. She now does research on using biology to solve engineering problems, such as in the mitigation of anthropogenic effects on the environment. Current research interests include bioremediation of mine waste and monitoring of marine ecosystem health with mussels. Her laboratory has adopted genomics techniques for studying microbial communities in bioremediation and to develop biomarkers for ecosystem health.

Dr. Harry Brumer is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry (Michael Smith Laboratories). His research focuses on combining biochemical, phylogenetic, and protein structural approaches to understand the way in which particular carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) act to alter the structure of polysaccharides found in biomass and to harness these enzymes for biomaterial and biorefining applications. Studies of carbohydrate oxidases involved in polysaccharide functionalization comprise another primary research area. Brumer works closely with several private sector partners including Novozymes, a world leader in developing biological solutions to improve industrial performance.


Dr. Sean Crowe is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, and a tier II Canada Research Chair in Geomicrobiology. His research focuses on defining the role microbial metabolisms play in shaping Earth’s surface chemistry using a combination of geochemistry, numerical modeling, and ecophysiological methods. He has extensive experience working with mineral and petroleum resource sectors and many of his research projects look for applied solutions across the full cycle of natural resource development. He is the co-founder of Biocrete a microbial enhanced materials company and Ekosense, an analytical services company that combines geochemical and genomic parameter information for field diagnostics and source tracking.

Joseph Dahmen is an Assistant Professor of Design and Sustainability Integration at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and a Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies Scholar. His research and design work connects emergent biocomposite materials with architectural practice. Dahmen is the co-founder of Watershed Materials LLC, a Bay Area developer of sustainable architectural materials currently supported by the National Science Foundation and private equity investment. His projects have been featured in Dwell, Design Boom, Azure, CBC, the Globe and Mail, and elsewhere.


Dr. Scott Dunbar is a Professor and Department Head in the Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering. His research interests are related to the application of biotechnologies to mineral extraction and mining innovation at the interface of geology, engineering and microbial ecology. He has worked extensively for various engineering consulting organizations and participated in mining exploration, geotechnical engineering, mine and mine tailings dam design as well as water resources and hydroelectric engineering projects. His current research interests relate to the development of advanced mining and mineral processing methods that leverage emerging concepts and methods in biotechnology to build the mine of tomorrow.


Dr. Lindsay Eltis is the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Catabolism and Biocatalysis, and a Professor in the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His primary research interest is in bacterial enzymes and pathways responsible for the degradation of aromatic compounds and steroids. He uses a wide variety of approaches to gain novel insights into the molecular basis of these catabolic processes with an eye toward the development of novel industrial biocatalysts and therapeutic agents.


Dr. Cigdem Eskicioglu is a Professor in the School of Engineering on the UBC Okanagan campus. Her research program aims to develop innovative biological treatment processes in order to produce cleaner wastewater effluents and biosolids as well as to design reactor facilities to identify bioenergy options for minimized negative environmental impacts through organic waste utilization.   As part of this applied research effort she leads the UBC Bioreactor Technology Group collaborating with government agencies, municipalities, industries, and academic researchers with the ultimate goal of engineering new modes of waste reduction and resource recovery.

Dr. John Frostad is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering with a cross appointment in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. His lab develops and implements new experimental techniques for studying multiphase fluid systems including foams and emulsions using a combination of experimental measurements, analytical theory, instrument design, custom machining, programming and hardware automation to answer fundamental questions and apply this knowledge to complex food systems.


Dr. Richard Hamelin is a Professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences within the Faculty of Forestry and a Senior Research Scientist with Natural Resources Canada. He is a leader in the field of forest pathology where he uses genetic and genomic tools to develop diagnostic and monitoring tools to better understand forest disease epidemics. Current research projects include genomics of host-pathogens interactions; integrated genomics in the mountain pine beetle complex and DNA barcoding of forest pathogens.


Dr. Bob Hancock is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Director, Centre for Microbial Diseases and Immunity Research, Canada Research Chair Holder in Health and Genomics, and Associate Faculty Member of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. His lab focuses on cationic host defence (antimicrobial) peptides as novel antimicrobials, anti-biofilm agents and modulators of innate immunity, the development of alternatives to antibiotics for resistant infections, the systems biology of innate immunity, inflammatory diseases and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and antibiotic resistance, particularly multidrug adaptive resistance. He is the co-founder of Migenix, Inimex Pharmaceuticals, ABT Innovations, Sepset and the Centre for Drug Research and Development.


Dr. Cara Haney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Her lab is interested in the genetic and metabolic factors that regulate assembly of plant root-associated microbial communities also known as rhizosphere microbiomes. Current research is focused on uncovering how microbes, including Bacillus, Pseudomonas and Streptomyces spp. colonize root systems and in the identification of plant and microbial genes that shape functional outputs of the rhizosphere microbiome including pathogen protection and increased nutrient availability.


Dr. Xiaonan Lu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science within the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. His lab combines genomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics along with nanotechnology to investigate critical scientific questions in food science. His current research interests include the development of rapid sensing instrumentation systems and detection methods for ensuring food safety, and preventing food bioterrorism and fraud, as wells as investigating stress response and pathogenesis of microorganisms that post threats to agri-food system and public health. Recently, his lab has started investigating the interaction between food microbiota/components and gut microbiota.

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Dr. Vivien Measday is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food, Nutrition & Health and associate member of the Michael Smith Laboratories and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her lab focuses on the study of yeast populations associated with the vineyards of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. She partners with the BC Wine Grape Council and associated wineries to perform spontaneous fermentations and isolation of the wine yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. By combining high-throughput genotypic analyses and laboratory scale experiments her lab develops molecular barcodes useful to the commercial wine industry. In addition to her oenology work she studies the mechanism of chromosome segregation in S. cerevisiae using molecular biology and genomic tools.


Dr. Bill Mohn is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. His lab studies diverse topics in microbial ecology, elucidating bacterial degradation mechanisms for a range of organic compounds, including steroids and some pollutants. They also investigate how bacteria respond to and survive various stresses common to the soil environment, particularly stresses associated with soil drying. Additionally, they are studying the composition of complex microbial communities in soil and marine environments and are working to understand how the composition of communities relates to the important ecological services provided by those communities. He is the co-founder of Microbiome Insights, an end-to-end sequence service company focused on microbial community profiling.


Dr. Lisa Osborne is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Her lab is focused on understanding how the host recognizes the diverse species that reside in the gut, from microscopic viruses to large, multicellular helminthic worms and tailors an immune response of the appropriate scope and magnitude necessary to achieve homeostasis. Through investigations of this “multi-biome” she is interested in understanding how dysregulation of these intestinal communities contributes to disease, and in how we might use these species or the products they make to manipulate the immune response to restore homeostasis and health.


Dr. Sepideh Pakpour is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering within the Faculty of Applied Science at the UBC Okanagan campus. She is the microbiome research lead in the Nurse Engagement and Wellness Study (NEWS) as part of the Hoffman Program on Chemicals at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Human Virus Project lead at the MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics. Her research aims to capture the dynamics of microbial ecosystems and model microbiome interactions with environmental variables including disease onset or human health performance indicators with an eye toward developing next generation non-invasive microbiome-based diagnostics and therapies applicable to human bings and the built fabric.


Dr. Scott Renneckar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Wood Science within the Faculty of Forestry and the tier II Canada Research Chair in Advanced Renewable Materials. His research focuses on the molecular structure and reactions of wood to transform trees and recycled fiber into novel materials that will serve as a platform for a green economy. His lab uses analytical chemistry methods to evaluate size and functionality of isolated and modified biopolymers and nanoparticles, such as lignin and nanocellulose in support of biorefining and biomaterial applications.


Dr. Nobuhiko Tokuriki is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. His interdisciplinary research involves applications of molecular biology, synthetic biology, biochemical, and biophysical techniques to understand and exploit “experimental evolution” for the creation of de novo proteins and metabolic pathways for industrial and medical uses. Current projects include superfamily-wide enzyme characterizations of the metal-beta-lactamases and nitroreductases, molecular mechanisms underlying evolution of new functions across a range of enzymatic activities and antibiotic resistance, and evolutionary constraints and mutational epistasis.


Dr. Siyun Wang is an Associate Professor of Food Safety Engineering within the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Her research group utilizes systems biology approaches to understand the microorganisms that post major threats to food safety and public health. Current research projects Lab include, integration of molecular detection and strain subtyping methods for the establishment of farm-to-fork food safety systems, use of mathematical modelling for the prediction of foodborne pathogen prevalence in food supply chains and use of systems biology approaches to study the evolving microbial communities that are important to food production and human health.


Dr. Peter Winterburn is a NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Exploration Geochemistry. He has more than 25 years of experience in senior positions within the minerals industry, with a strong focus on mineral exploration. His current research focuses on mineralogical association and speciation of chemical elements in near surface soils over exotic overburden and their extraction by partial digests, generation of complex hydrocarbon signatures in the near surface environment over mineralization, and physical process of element transportation through the overburden with a focus on developing robust models that can be applied to exploration Geochemistry.


Dr. Stephen Withers is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and founding member of the Centre for High-throughput Biology. His group focuses primarily on discovering, characterizing and engineering enzymes that catalyze glycoside formation and hydrolysis, since these play crucial roles in all areas of biology. Applications of their research range from the development of new catalysts for industrial processes to the design, synthesis and testing of new therapeutics including enzymes for the production of universal donor blood and prevention of organ rejection.


Dr. Vikramaditya Yadav is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering. His lab uses metabolic and enzyme engineering to develop novel biosynthetic enzymes that can convert biomass-derived feedstocks into better fuels, pharmaceuticals and value-added chemicals. He extends these principles to design and development of unique bioremediation strategies to rehabilitate the water quality in and around industrial zones and works on medical biotechnology innovation related to tissue engineering, drug discovery and delivery. He is an avid collaborator with local start-ups and industry groups and co-founded Metabolik, an environmental engineering venture focused on the development of cost-effective and efficient bioremediation solutions for the oil sands.

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Dr. Ryan Ziels is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Systems Engineering group within the Department of Civil Engineering. His research focuses on managing microbial communities within engineered water and wastewater treatment processes to enhance the sustainable recovery of clean water, nutrients, bioenergy, and other resources. His lab employs a variety of modeling and molecular techniques including DNA stable isotope probing to study the structure and function of complex microbial communities within these engineered treatment systems, with an overarching goal of optimizing new bioprocesses for the circular bioeconomy.