Dr. David Zechel is the Associate Head and Graduate Studies Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s University. He is also a member of the NSERC Discovery Grant evaluation group for Chemistry (1504). Dr. Zechel completed his BSc in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Toronto (1991-95). This was followed by PhD studies (1996-2001) with Stephen G. Withers at the University of British Columbia where he focused on engineering the reactions catalyzed by glycosidases. As a postdoc Dr. Zechel studied the structures of glycosidases (2002) with Gideon Davies (York University, UK) and protein engineering (2002-2004) with Andreas Plückthun (University of Zürich), the latter as a Human Frontier Science Program postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Zechel started his independent research career in the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s University in 2004 and was promoted to full Professor in 2017. During this time he was twice a visiting professor (2010-11, 2017-18) in the lab of Andreas Bechthold (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) where he did a deep dive into natural product biosynthesis by Streptomyces. Dr. Zechel’s current research focuses on the discovery and characterization of unusual enzyme reactions from microbial biosynthetic and catabolic pathways. His lab has made significant discoveries in the degradation of phosphonates by bacteria, and in the biosynthesis of rare natural products such as fluorometabolites.