David Stuart – Associate Professor/Associate Chair & Grad Program Coordinator

Dr. Stuart completed his M.Sc. in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. His thesis was on phosphorylation of the myosin light chains of human skeletal muscle and selected contractile properties of the knee extensor muscles. Dr. Stuart went on to conduct similar work as a research assistant at the University of Texas in Dallas before moving to Edmonton to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta. DNA replication and recombination of tumorigenic Poxvirus were the focus of his doctoral research. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Dr. Stuart worked with The Scripps Research Institute as a Post Doctoral Fellow where he was involved in projects studying yeast cell growth and physiology with emphasis on cell growth and cell cycle regulation and control of cell cycle regulated transcription. He has since returned to Edmonton as Faculty in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta.

Expertise: Yeast Cell Physiology, Metabolism, Synthetic Biology, Biofuels, Protein Engineering.

Research interests: 
Dr. Stuart’s current major research interest is in the application of synthetic biology to create novel metabolic pathways in yeast followed by evolutionary engineering to optimize cells for biosynthesis of candidate fuels and valuable products from glucose or hemicellulosic materials. Additionally, Dr. Stuart is interested in developing microbial strains that display increased tolerance to butanol and to inhibitors generated during the processing of lignocellulosic biomass. Dr. Stuart is also interested numerous aspects of cell growth and metabolism including the regulation of DNA replication and the control of cellular differentiation in response to environmental signals.

Current research projects: 
BCN projects:
Biological Conversions
Genetic Engineering of yeast for production of industrially useful chemical precursors and advanced biofuels from
various feedstocks (PI)
Novel pathways to biobutanol (Collaborator)
Biocatalyst chassis development (Collaborator)
Other projects:
The control of gene expression during gametogenesis in yeast
The regulation of yeast DNA replication by cyclins and cyclin dependent kinases

Research capacity: 
Dr. Stuart’s Laboratory in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Alberta is well-equipped for all aspects of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. A major focus of the lab is molecular biology. The lab has extensive facilities for the analysis and manipulation of DNA. Equipment is in place to provide capabilities for genetic manipulation and analysis of microorganisms and for the analysis of protein and nucleic acid products.

Additionally, the lab has exceptional capacity for the analysis of cell physiology and cell growth. In addition to a variety of specialized incubators the lab is equipped with A Z2 cell counter and size analyzer, a centrifugal elutriator for cell fractionation, and a Zeiss fluorescence microscope with digital image capture and time-lapse capability. The lab also makes use of a specialized plate reader and flow cytometry for high through put analysis to identify cells that are capable of increased product synthesis or secretion.

Other activities/information:
Dr. Stuart is the Associate Chair & Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Biochemistry and is currently a member of the Molecular Mechanisms Growth Control Group, the Cell Cycle Research Group, and the biobutanol group at the University of Alberta.

Top 3 Future Interests for Collaboration:

  • Production of biobutanol and advanced biofuels from cellulosic and hemicellulosic feedstock.
  • Production and secretion of fatty acids and other lipids by yeast for potential use as biofuel.
  • Investigating cyanobacteria and algae as potential vehicles for biobutanol and biofuel production.

5-61A Medical Sciences Building
Ph: 780.492.7737