Professor, University of Toronto
Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
Elizabeth Edwards is the Director of BioZone and a Professor in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry. She is an internationally renowned expert in bioremediation and environmental biotechnology who has spent over 20 years developing techniques that use bacteria to clean up sites with groundwater contamination. The focus of her work is to harness and enhance the innate ability of soil micro-organisms to biologically transform common toxic pollutants, such as gasoline and industrial solvents, to render them less harmful to the environment and human health. Her research involves the characterization of microbial communities that degrade these compounds, and the use of molecular tools to detect gene and protein expression.
Dr. Edwards brings expertise in engineering scale-up and commercial application of bioproducts to BioZone, and was recently recognized with the 2009 NSERC Synergy Award for her highly successful partnership with Geosyntec, an international environmental consulting firm with whom she developed a microbial consortium called KB-1®. This commercially successful bioproduct biodegrades two of the world’s most common and persistent groundwater pollutants, PCE (a common dry-cleaning agent) and TCE (a degreasing solvent), more quickly and at a lower cost than conventional methods. It has been used at over 200 sites around the world.
Dr. Edwards’ research accomplishments have been recognized with several prestigious awards, including an NSERC Women’s Faculty Award, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award (PREA) and a Killam Research Fellowship (Canada Council for the Arts). She has been in inducted into the Canadian Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her publications include over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, and as many government and industrial reports, book chapters and conference papers.