Biotechnology for Exploration, Extraction, and Remediation

Mining Microbiome, Closure, Exploration, Extraction, Remediation, Copper, North America, Exploration, Service Companies,

We are excited to officially launch our “Mining Microbiome” theme with the following webinar: Biotechnology for Exploration, Extraction and Remediation.

This webinar will feature five UBC and BRIMM researchers focusing on microorganisms and biotechnology and their impact on the mining industry. Presentations are scheduled for 60-minutes with a 30-minute question period to follow.

Registration closes on July 28th, 2020 at 11:00 AM PDT. A Zoom link will be sent to all registrants 24-hours prior to the event.

To learn more about BRIMM, visit


Metagenomics Tools, Dr. Steven Hallam, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia

Microorganisms as Sensors for Concealed Mineral Deposits, Dr. Rachel Simister, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia

Green Biochemistry for Mineral Processing Reagents, Robert (Rob) Greene, PhD Student, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia

Extraction of Low-grade Copper and Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) through Sustainable Bioprocesses, Dr. Vikram Yadav, Chemical & Biological Engineering School of Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia

Microbial communities contribute to mine remediation, Dr. Susan Baldwin, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia


Dr. Steven Hallam (, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Steven Hallam is the ECOSCOPE co-director and a part of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC. He is a University of California Santa Cruz and MIT trained molecular biologist, microbial ecologist, entrepreneur, and innovator with over 20 years of experience in field and laboratory research. Dr. Hallam co-directs the ECOSCOPE innovation ecosystem consisting of an NSERC CREATE industrial stream training program, a research network, a core facility for high-throughput biology and a curriculum development initiative in data science (EDUCE). His research focuses on the creation of functional screens and computational tools that reveal hidden metabolic powers of uncultivated microbial communities.

Dr. Rachel Simister, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Rachel Simister’s research interests span the broad field of microbial interactions and ecology, incorporating varied disciplines such as molecular biology, phylogenetics, biogeochemistry and biotechnology. Her work is highly interdisciplinary, centring on the analysis of microbial communities from a wide variety of environments and putting these comparisons in a temporal and spatial context. Her research focuses on both free-living and host-associated bacteria and archaeal communities, as well as eukaryotic microbial communities. Her ultimate goal is to understand how microbes interact with their environment and in particular, how biogeochemical variables shape community structure and function.  Her research at UBC in the Crowe laboratory has focused on efforts to use and recover the metabolic potential of environmental microbial communities for application to problems in mineral and petroleum resource exploration, recovery, and remediation.  Most recently she has focused on assessing and developing a robust genomic method of through-cover mineral exploration.  

Robert (Rob) Greene, PhD Student, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, University of British Columbia

Robert Greene graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2014 with a joint BSc in Chemistry and Earth Science and moved into a geochemical consulting position with Nyrstar on a project, jointly funded by NSERC, to further the understanding of the petrogenesis of gold within the Myra Falls VMS deposit.  Upon the completion of that project, Robert returned to academia to complete an MASc in Mining Engineering under the supervision of Dr. W. Scott Dunbar, graduating in the fall of 2017.  Several months before graduation, Robert co-founded EcoMine Technologies Inc. with Dr. Dunbar and several colleagues from both academia and the private sector, with the mission to develop green biochemistries for mineral processing and metallurgy applications.  Since the founding of the company in 2017, EcoMine has patented a unique mineral separation technology for gold processing applications.  In addition to serving as the president of EcoMine, Robert is also continuing his graduate studies under Dr. Dunbar at the PhD level, primarily focusing on “mining” biogeochemical samples for unique biochemistries applicable to mining applications.

Dr. Vikram Yadav (, Chemical & Biological Engineering School of Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia

Dr. Vikram Yadav’s research group uses metabolic & enzyme engineering to investigate and customize novel biosynthetic enzymes that can convert biomass-derived feedstocks into better fuels, pharmaceuticals and value-added chemicals. They also extend these principles to the design and development of unique bioremediation strategies to rehabilitate the water quality in and around industrial zones and new mining technologies.

Dr. Susan Baldwin (, Chemical & Biological Engineering School of Biomedical Engineering, University of British Columbia

Dr. Susan Baldwin’s research is focused on using natural biological and geochemical processes to solve environmental challenges caused by anthropogenic activities. Her research group has worked with municipalities, agriculture, forestry, mining and pulp and paper industries to find solutions for mitigating their impact on the receiving ecosystem. They target treatment processes that are inspired by nature and that leverage the wide spectrum of metabolic capabilities of native microorganisms as well as geochemical processes. Through the use of metagenomics they are discovering new microorganisms with the metabolic potential for transferring potentially toxic compounds to less harmful forms. They are learning how disturbance from mining is transforming the below ground microbial communities. The technologies that they are developing are designed to provide conditions that promote the activity of beneficial biogeochemical processes to achieve environmental sustainability. 

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