July 8th, 2019

Making therapeutic molecules with microalgae

A world expert in plant metabolism, Professor Isabel Desgagné-Penix of the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics at UQTR holds the new Research Chair in Microalgae Metabolic Engineering.

A new partnership research chair was recently created at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). It will be dedicated to the development of genetically modified microalgae that can produce, for commercial purposes, therapeutic molecules such as cannabinoids.

Funded by industry, Mitacs and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Research Chair in Microalgae Metabolic Engineering (IMMA) will be led by Professor Isabel Desgagné-Penix , a world expert in metabolism Plant.

“Using microorganisms to produce interesting molecules is not new,” says the researcher. Microbiologists use bacteria, yeasts or genetically modified fungi to obtain certain products. However, these microorganisms are not able to make very complex molecules. By turning to microalgae, structurally closer to plant cells, we hope to have a better chance of producing therapeutic molecules usually derived from plants. “…