Rm: 3517 Bioscience Complex
Tel: (613) 533-6141
Faculty Web Site: http://post.queensu.ca/~lefebvre/
RESEARCH AREA/POTENTIAL PROJECTS
Our research investigates A) the causes and bioremediation of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms, and 2) the synthetic biology of nano-structures composed of inorganic elements. Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs) are increasing in severity globally. The current control strategies have had limited success; e.g. four decades of strict phosphorus loading regulations have not prevented massive CHAB events in Lake Erie. We are characterizing ecological CHABs remediation (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/346/6206/175.2.full.pdf). Synthetic biology involving nano-structure biosynthesis in living organisms is the bio-transformation of inorganic ions into insoluble particles. We are at the vanguard of understanding this process across numerous different taxa. Our efforts concentrate on deciphering the processes that determine the ability of organisms to synthesize particles of diverse compositions, shapes and sizes. This is a rewarding area of research with important applications in electrochemical and electrophysical nanotechnologies such as solar panels and digital displays. We have discovered that certain algae can produce selenium particles (Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2013 Dec; 97(24):10511-9. doi: 10.1007/s00253-013-5304-0) We have also just identified higher organisms that perform similar processes. Our studies involve various culturing techniques, organismal competition experiments, electron microscopy and analysis of nano-particles with scanning tunnelling microscopy, Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy.
Students experience an intensive research experience and learn numerous techniques in these up and coming research areas of applied biology,
Supervise two to four students
STARTING DATE:September (May possible)