Our lab is located on the fourth floor of the Essar Convergence Centre, in the Campus of Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
We are interested in exploring both fundamental and applied aspects of the biochemistry and control of plant lipid metabolism. We are currently characterizing the chemistry and biosynthesis of cutin and suberin, two polymers of fatty acids that occur outside the cell. These polymeric lipids form protective barriers that represent fundamental adaptations of plants to terrestrial environment. A better understanding of the synthesis and regulation of surface lipids may facilitate the development of stress-tolerant plants, as well as plants that accumulate hydrocarbons for use as renewable energy sources. In addition, these metabolic pathways comprise rich sources of enzymes that modify fatty acids to introduce novel functionalities. We utilize a genomics approach to identify and isolate genes for novel bio-catalysts, which can be used to engineer plants or microorganisms for the production of renewable feedstock oleochemicals for industrial bioproducts.