Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics and Engineering (Tier 2)
Department of Biology, Faculty of Arts and Science
Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics
Born in Montreal, biologist Dr. Vincent Martin studied his way through a variety of fields, earning a B.Sc. in Microbiology at McGill University, an M.Sc. in Environmental Biology at the University of Guelph, a Ph.D. (also in Microbiology) at the University of British Columbia, and finally a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He returned to Montreal in 2004 to accept his Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Microbial Genomics and Engineering.
Dr. Martin's research concerns microbial genomes and how they function so as to engineer their metabolism and produce valuable biochemicals and biofuels. The knowledge generated from this research will help in the development of sustainable technologies and the next generation of industrially important microbes for the purpose of producing cleaner, better, and cheaper products.
Still early in his career, Dr. Martin has already racked up an impressive list of academic achievements, which includes:
- Engineering a strain of bacteria for the production of an anti-malarial compound called artemisinin. The successful commercialization of this process, supported by the Gates Foundation, will lead to affordable and effective alternatives to treating this disease.
- Co-founding Amyris Biotechnology, a biotechnology company involved in the production of isoprenoid-based natural compounds and biofuels.
- Receiving the 2004 Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award for his research project titled "The characterization of clostridial cellulosomes for the engineering of microbial strains and the production of clean sustainable energy, fuels and chemicals from biomass."
- Taking on the role of Fermentation theme leader with the Cellulosic Biofuels Network (CBioN), a major national project focusing on the conversion of agricultural waste into biofuels. As a member of this Network, his group will use genetic engineering methods to produce a strain of yeast that will meet the needs of the industry for the conversion of cellulose to biofuels.
- Co-leading a major project, with University of Calgary researcher Peter Facchini, on identifying novel high-value plant-derived bioproducts. This project was awarded $13.6 million, from the Genome Canada Applied Genomics Research in Bioproducts or Crops (ABC) competition, with more than $4.6 million for Dr. Martin’s activities at Concordia.