Matt’s foray into algal research began as an undergraduate at Mount Allison University where he studied the effects of diatom blooms on Atlantic Salmon in northern New Brunswick rivers. As an undergraduate thesis project, he then cultured several species of marine phyotplankton and investigated the effects of nutrient starvation on cabrohydrate and lipid dynamics in the cell. He thought he would take a break from algae and took a position studying feeding behaviour of migrating shorebirds in the Bay of Fundy, but ended up organising a project investigating the contribution of microphytobenthos to the birds’ diets. He joined Dr. Champagne’s research group in 2019 to investigate the myriad industrial applications of microalgae and perform solutions-based research towards pressing pollution- and climate-related issues. When hes not geeking out about algae, he enjoys running, cooking, and tending to my garden.
Research: As a Masters of Applied Science student at Queen’s University, he is focused on the applications of microalgae towards municipal wastewater remediation and biomass utilization. He is culturing monocultures and native polycultures of microalgae under different growth conditions to assess their ability to remove nutrients from wastewater while simultaneously producing viable by-products like biofuels precursors or nutritional supplements. Complementing this work, he is performing bench-scale experiments to screen different species for their ability to remove emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, personal care products, etc.) from Kingston, ON wastewater. In the future he hopes to study how microalgae can be used to remediate other forms of wastewater, and use mixotrophic growth strategies to amplify the lipid yield of algal crops.