Laura Hug

Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology

Tier 2 - 2017-11-01
Renewed: 2024-01-01
University of Waterloo
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

519-888-4567, ext./poste 31151

Coming to Canada From

University of California, Berkeley, United States

Research involves

Using metagenomics and enrichment cultures to define microbial diversity and function at contaminated sites.

Research relevance

This research will increase our understanding of microbial diversity and processes in contaminated environments, and lead to bioremediation tools to deal with them.

Research summary

Human activity has led to widespread contamination of our environment—from oil plumes in the oceans to landfills across the globe. But many of these contaminants can be converted to less toxic or even completely innocuous substances by micro-organisms in our environment. These microbial activities could be used for remediation efforts—but the vast majority of microbial metabolic potential remains unknown.

Dr. Laura Hug, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology, seeks to develop microbiology-based tools to address environmental contamination challenges. Hug’s research in municipal landfills has already led to a better understanding of microbial groups within contaminated sites. Now she and her research team are developing tools to mitigate methane emissions and manage emerging contaminant waste streams, such bioplastics and 1,4-dioxane (found in cosmetics, shampoos and cleaning products). Their research has the potential to help address emerging, growing, urgent contaminants.