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Queen's University

BIOL 537 2014-15
Dr. D. Lefebvre

Rm:  3517 Bioscience Complex
Tel:   (613) 533-6141
Faculty Web Site:

Our research combines the study of the biosynthesis of inorganic nanoparticles with  bioremediation which is the use of living organisms to remove or neutralize undesirable chemicals and metals in the environment. We investigate this by using fungi, microorganisms and plants. Our efforts concentrate on determining which species and subspecies are most effective and why.  Recently we have discovered that cyanobacteria can synthesize inorganic particles of selenium and tellurium (Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013 Dec; 97(24):10511-9. doi: 10.1007/s00253-013-5304-0). We have also just identified that plant roots are also capable of similar synthetic processes. These studies involve the use of electron microscopy and elemental analysis methods as well as learning how to culture various interesting types of microbes.  The bioremediation research concentrates on the conversion of toxic metal ions into biologically unavailable forms, thereby detoxifying them (Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013 Dec;97(24):10511-9. doi: 10.1007/s00253-013-5304-0); BMC Microbiol. 2013 Jul 15;13:161. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-13-161).

Projects include lab work on the mechanisms of aerobic heavy-metal precipitation and nanoparticle biosynthesis by microbes, fungi and plants.  Student experience an intensive research experience and learn numerous techniques including culturing, microscopy, cell fractionation and cell separation processes.

Supervise two to four students.

STARTING DATE:September  (May possible)

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000