Research Interests

1. Plastic waste upcycling

Community regulation

Canada committed to zero plastic waste by 2030 and net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Bio-upcycling of mixed plastic wastes helps Canada achieve both targets by reducing plastic pollution and alleviating GHG emissions. Further, bio-upcycling will facilitate Canada as a leader in the construction of a circular economy in the plastics industry. The critical challenge yet to be addressed to realize bio-upcycling is the cost-effectiveness of mixed plastic-waste processing. Our group aims to develop synthetic symbiotic bacterial consortia (SSBC) for the bioconversion of mixed plastic wastes into valuable chemicals. This research will lead to fundamental insights into the mechanism of mixed plastic biodegradation and bio-upcycling to help Canada meet its goals of zero plastic waste and netzero GHG emissions to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development.



2. Functional probiotics

Bacterial membrane vesicles (MV)

Both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria release nanosized extracellular vesicles called membrane vesicles (MVs, 20–400 nm), which have great potential in various biomedical applications due to their abilities to deliver effector molecules and induce therapeutic responses. Our group developed a universal strategy to promote secretion of G+/G- bacterial membrane vesicles and tested its functional activities in host innate immune responses for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) therapeutics, which demonstrating the great potential of engineering probiotics in immunology and further living therapeutics in humans. Our group interests in developing functional probiotics to supply an affordable and preventive health solutions.  




3. Bioproduction of Fatty Acid-Derived Chemicals (FACs)

Microbial Chassis

Global warming and uneven distribution of fossil fuels worldwide concerns have spurred the development of alternative, renewable, sustainable, and environmental-friendly resources. From an engineering perspective, biosynthesis of FACs is an attractive and promising solution to produce chemicals from abundant renewable feedstocks and carbon dioxide in microbial chassis. Our group has delevolped system engineering strategies for high production of fatty alcohols in E. coli. We are working on state-of-the-art technologies to greatly improve bioprocess productivity.