Education and Professional Standing
- PhD, Biophysics, University of Michigan
- MSc, Biophysics, University of Michigan
- BSc, Honours Mathematics, McGill University
My team has two primary goals: (1) to prevent and cure cancer and cardiovascular disease; (2) and to reverse climate change.
To accomplish these goals, I have founded two companies, Algaeneers Inc (www.algae.io), and Neemo Inc (www.neemo.io).
For any student considering training in my lab, the most important criteria are: your curiosity; a voracious appetite for learning (including through self-study); your ability to solve problems (where the answer is not known); and your desire to utilize scientific knowledge to make a huge, measurable, positive impact in people’s lives.
Academic excellence is expected, but please note that strong academic performance and the above criteria are very different things. If you are looking for a training experience where you will be told exactly what to do, this is not the right lab for you. Our approach is: we decide what we want to do, and then we go and figure out how to do it. If you can see yourself thriving in the very best Silicon Valley start-up company, you’ll be happy in my lab.
To prevent and cure cancer and cardiovascular disease, we emphasize the use of personalized medicine (ie: analysis of a patient’s genome, exome, transcriptome, metabolome, and tumour samples) to develop customized, patient-specific, precise (ie: with minimal side-effects) therapies. We make heavy use of machine learning and data analytics to extract predictive, diagnostic, and therapeutic insights from patient data. We discover and make clinical-grade biotherapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies. We also make recombinant vaccines and have received funding from Grand Challenges Canada to produce low-cost vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, for low- and middle-income countries such as India and Bangladesh (to see our Grand Challenges project, visit this link
To reverse climate change, we are developing and commercializing a process called ‘chemisynthesis’, which uses chemical energy, instead of sunlight, to fix carbon dioxide. The use of chemical energy instead of sunlight, allows chemisynthesis to be far more scalable, cost-effective, and faster than photosynthesis-based carbon fixation. The form of chemical energy used in our chemisynthesis process is methane, which can be obtained from flared and vented (i.e. waste) natural gas and biogas. Methane can also be made synthetically from carbon dioxide and hydrogen using renewable and clean energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear. We are designing and developing a modular, 4th generation high-temperature nuclear reactor which can burn radioactive waste, to eventually provide
another power source for chemisynthesis.