Andrew is a Ph.D. candidate in cellular and molecular biology at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). He was awarded the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Research: The objective of his Ph.D. project is to produce plant specialized metabolites in genetically engineered diatoms Phaeodactylum tricornutum. Specifically, P. tricornutum is used as a platform for studying the metabolic function of heterologous plant genes and to use their respective activities to build biosynthetic pathway. He is focusing on the phenylpropanoid pathway for vanillin production. The biosynthetic pathway has been elucidated, but some steps still need to be clarified due to controversy surrounding the function of few pathway genes in the research community.