Dr. Stephen O’Leary joined Canada’s National Research Council as a Research Officer (Phycology) in 2007. In addition to his own research activities, Stephen has held leadership positions in two national NRC algae programs, including Lead Project Director for the National Bioproducts Program – Algal Biofuels Initiative (2008-2011), Director of R&D for the Algal Carbon Conversion Flagship Program (ACCFP, 2012-2015), and Program Director for the ACCFP (2015-2018). In 2012, Stephen received the NRC Outstanding Achievement Award for Leadership in recognition of his contributions to program leadership.
Stephen holds an undergraduate degree in biology from St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia, Canada). His Ph.D. (University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) and postdoctoral (Agriculture and AgriFood Canada) research was focused on plant proteomics and molecular biology. In addition to his work at NRC, Stephen has made professional contributions to the field of algal research as an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at St. Francis Xavier University, an elected member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for Applied Phycology, a member of the editorial board for the journal Algal Research, and as an expert reviewer for numerous journals and funding agencies. He is an author of more than 30 peer-reviewed publications on the biology of algae and plants, and has delivered more than 25 invited presentations and keynote addresses at national or international conferences.
Stephen’s core research program employs experimental cultivation techniques and molecular biology to investigate physical conditions that result in improved accumulation of biomass and selected bioactive compounds in seaweeds and microalgae. He works closely with his NRC colleagues and the algae cultivation industry to optimize the production of materials destined for functional food, bioactive, and bio-energy markets. Most recently, Stephen’s reseach team is developing new capabilities in algal synthetic biology to create an NRC platform in “green cell factories”.