Current Team

Principal Investigator

Radhakrishnan (Krishna) Mahadevan

Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Metabolic Systems Engineering
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry

B.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) - Madras, India
Ph.D., University of Delaware, USA


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Postdoctoral Fellows
Yilan Liu

Research Associate

M.Sc., Chinese Academy of Sciences - China D.Eng., Chinese Academy of Sciences - China

Yilan's research involves the metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli to produce bioproducts. She particularly focuses on using CRISPR, self-developed TRAGE tools and metabolic flux analyses to engineer E. coli to produce alkanes and alcohols.

Email liu(DOT)yilan(AT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Jinjin Chen

Research Associate

M.Sc., Chinese Academy of Sciences - China D.Eng., Chinese Academy of Sciences - China

Jinjin primarily works on developing a gene editing method for Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. She also works on the metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli to produce bioproducts.


Email jinjin(DOT)chen(AT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Marios Mejdani

Research Associate

B.Sc., University of Toronto Ph.D., University of Toronto

Marios is working on developing and leveraging CRISPR-based lactobacillus genome editing to create new probiotic strains to treat Chron's Disease.


Email marios(DOT)mejdani(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Mona Abo-Hashesh

Research Associate

B.Sc., Suez Canal University - Egypt
M.Sc., Suez Canal University - Egypt
Ph.D., University of Montreal

Mona is utilizing recombinant DNA technology and genetic engineering tools to construct engineering Escherichia coli strains that can produce adipic acid. She explores enhancing the production pathway through optimization of experimental conditions.


Celina Tufvegren


M.Sc., Lund University - Sweden
Ph.D., Lund University - Sweden

Celina's research centers around production of bulk and specialty chemicals from sustainable sources utilizing recombinant biofactories such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli.


Alan Froese


B.Sc. (Hons), University of Manitoba
Ph.D., University of Manitoba

Alan works on directed evolution of enzymes for use in renewable biochemical production.


Pailin Sukwong


B.Sc., Chulalongkorn University - Thailand
M.Sc., Chulalongkorn University - Thailand
Ph.D., Pukyong National University - South Korea

Pailin is working on developing metabolic engineering tools on non-conventional yeast, Pichia kudriavzevii for the production of acids and chemicals.

Email pailin(DOT)sukwong(AT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Graduate Students
Ruhi Choudhary

Ph.D. Student

B.A.Sc., University of Toronto

Ruhi works on strain engineering and developing computational tools for therapeutic purposes with a focus on gut microbiome. Her research interests include drug discovery, synthetic biology, microbiome engineering, metabolic engineering and analytical chemistry.

Email ruhi(DOT)choudhary(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Patrick Diep

Ph.D. Student

B.Sc., University of Waterloo

Patrick is interested in protein design towards metal recovery application in mining wastewater settings, as well as environmental synthetic biology. He runs the Canadian Synthetic Biology Education Research Group (nonprofit) and is co-founder of Lyrata (start-up).

Email patrick(DOT)diep(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Zhiqing (Paul) Xu

Ph.D. Student

B.A.Sc., University of Toronto M.A.Sc., University of Toronto

Zhiqing (Paul) works on biochemical pathway prediction based on probabilistic and machine learning methods. He develops new algorithms to improve the efficiency of designing synthetic pathways for biological production of non-natural chemicals.

Email zhiqing(DOT)xu(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Sheida Stephens

Ph.D. Student

B.A.Sc., University of Ottawa P.Eng.

Sheida works on developing metabolic models for purple bacteria and engineering them to function as chemical production platforms.

Email sheida(DOT)stephens(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Kavya Siddartha

Ph.D. Student

B.S., University of California - Berkeley, USA


Kavya engineers Escherichia coli for 1,3-butanediol production. She is interested in characterizing computationally-predicted gene deletions.

Email kavya(DOT)siddartha(AT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Chester Pham

Ph.D. Student

B.S., University of Washington - Seattle, USA


Chester works on developing engineered biosensors to detect small molecules and metabolites for use in metabolic engineering.


Email chester(DOT)pham(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Olivia Bulka

Ph.D. Student

B.Sc. (Hons), University of British Columbia

Olivia’s research involves the analysis and engineering of microbial communities to degrade chlorinated groundwater contaminants. Her research interests include synthetic biology and bioremediation.


Email olivia(DOT)bulka(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Dafni Giannari

Ph.D. Student

Diploma (M.S.), University of Patras - Greece

Dafni works on developing algorithms to model microbial communities, with a particular interest in the human gut microbiome. Her research involves the use of metabolic models and bioinformatic data, as well as solving optimization problems and problems with optimization-constrained differential equations.


Email dafni(DOT)giannari(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Mauricio Garcia Benitez

Ph.D. Student

B.Sc., UANL - Mexico M.Sc., UNAM - Mexico City, Mexico

Mauricio works on understanding economic principles behind cell's physiology such as resource allocation and cost-benefit. His research is focused on principles relevant to the expression of membrane proteins as a metabolic engineering strategy to increase the strain tolerance to biofuels.

Email mauricio(DOT)garciabenitez (AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Alexandre Tremblay

Ph.D. Student

B.Sc., Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières M.Sc.., McGill University

Alexandre works on modeling and engineering microorganisms to build communities that produce renewable chemicals. His research interests includes microbial ecology and synthetic biology.

Email alexandre(DOT)tremblay(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Rana Ahmed Barghout

Ph.D. Student

B.A.Sc., University of British Columbia

Rana is working on combining deep learning methods with deterministic models to improve the capabilities of metabolic modeling.


Michelle Feigis

M.A.Sc. Student

H.B.Sc., University of Toronto

Michelle works on identifying and optimizing novel metabolic pathways for the biosynthesis of alkanes and commodity chemicals.


Email michelle(DOT)feigis(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Jonathan Jarzabek

M.A.Sc. Student

B.A.Sc., University of Toronto

Jonathan's research focuses on engineering lactobacillus to overproduce therapeutic molecules for the treatment of Chron's Disease.

Email jonathan(DOT)jarzabek(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Mara Jezernik

M.A.Sc. Student

B.Sc., McGill University

Mara’s research aims to engineer microbial co-cultures to produce medium chain fatty acids from carbon dioxide, in a bioelectrochemical system.

Email mara(DOT)jezernik(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Ethan Agena

M.A.Sc. Student

B.A.Sc., University of Alberta

Ethan’s research revolves around engineering microbes and microbial communities to produce valuable compounds from waste streams.

Email ethan(DOT)agena(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Lauren Baerg

M.A.Sc. Student

B.Tech., McMaster University

Lauren’s research focuses on investigating host-microbe interactions in the gut and leveraging these mechanisms in engineered probiotics, towards the development of novel therapeutic strategies for Crohn’s disease.

Email lauren(DOT)baerg(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca

Supriya Shivanna

M.Eng. Student

B.E., Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering - India

Supriya works on developing feeding and media optimization strategies to optimize the production of muconic acid.

Email supriya(DOT)shivanna(AT)mail(DOT)utoronto(DOT)ca