Lipid Quality and Utilization

Our Team

Our team is a multidisciplinary collaboration of 19 Highly Qualified Personnel that consists of 11 students, 2 PDFs, 2 professional research associates, 1 research scientist, 1 visiting scientist, and 2 technicians.

Mr. Robert Bauer BSc, MSc
PhD Candidate Department of Physics and Engineering Physics

I am Robert Bauer, a Ph.D. candidate in the Physics and Engineering Department at the University of Saskatchewan, co-supervised by Gap Soo Chang and John Tse. My work focuses on developing bio-organic semiconducting materials derived from flax and investigating the nucleation of ices and gas hydrates under extreme conditions. My research involves the use of spectroscopy and devices to investigate changes in structure and how those changes in atomic structures influence the outward properties of materials. In my work, I look to add value to products such as flax by investigating possible semiconducting properties of molecules extracted from the oil. Using different combinations of 20 amino acids one can form a variety of differing bio-organic molecules that could be used as a semiconductor. I work on using computational methods to help identify promising candidates and experimental methods to test the properties of the materials. We also develop strategies to modify materials to induce additional properties, such as light sensitivity and emission. If Plants can be modified to produce a programmed semiconductor given an appropriate amino acid chain can be sequenced, then it could be the future bio-compatible semiconductors.

Dr. Farley Chicilo BSc, PhD
Post Doctoral Fellow Plant Sciences, Mechanical Engineering

Farley is a postdoctoral fellow with a background specializing in physics and material sciences. During his undergrad, he was employed at the Saskatchewan Structural Science Center (SSSC) as a research technician and has experience using a wide variety of measurement techniques including Raman, ESR, FTIR, DSC, AFM, confocal microscopy, and many others. After obtaining his B.Sc in Physics from the University of Saskatchewan, Farley was enrolled in the PhD program in Biomedical Engineering developing a high dose, high resolution dosimeter material for synchrotron based radiotherapy applications and graduated in 2020. Farley's current research involves working with industry partners in the upgrading and purification of local ethanol products to pharmaceutical grade materials for Covid-19 applications.

Ms. Yue (Rachel) He BSc, MSc
PhD Student Department of Plant Sciences

Yue (Rachel) He completed her bachelor’s degree (major: food science and technology) at Jinan University (Guangzhou, China) in 2016 and a Master`s degree (major: biological engineering) at the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Canada) in 2019. Her Master`s project is to investigate chickpea cooking water (aquafaba) as an emulsifier in food-oil systems. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in Biological Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. She is working with Dr. Martin Reaney and Dr. Venkatesh Meda on aquafaba physicochemical properties and its applications in food products.

Ms. Yingxue (Cher) Hu BSc
MSc Student

I am from Wuhan, China. I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Food and Bioproduct Science at the University of Saskatchewan. During my undergraduate capstone project, I worked on flaxseed gum functional properties. I’ve worked with the LQU group as a summer student in 2016 and 2017 on flaxseed dehulling. I am currently a Master`s student in Biological Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. I am working on the extraction and purification of lignan from flaxseed.

Ms. Chao Huang BSc, MSc
MSc student Department of Plant Sciences

I’m from Beijing, China. I obtained a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Environmental Engineering at Beijing Technology and Business University in China and a Master`s of Science degree in Civil Engineering at University of Saskatchewan in Canada. I’ve worked at Elsevier as a publishing specialist in Beijing and also worked at Prairie Tide Diversified (Saskatoon) as a technical sales specialist. Currently, I’m doing research on using bacterial fermentation to degum and detox flaxseeds.

Mr. Edgar Martinez-Soberanes BSc, MSc
PhD student Department of Mechanical Engineering

I am a Mechatronic Engineer with experience in advanced design and applied engineering in interdisciplinary problems. I have a bachelor in Mechatronics from the Universidad Panamericana and am originally from Mexico City and a Master's in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan. During my Master's studies, I gained experience in micro-fabrication and processes with micro-particles. Now, I am undertaking a Ph.D. degree at the University of Saskatchewan, studying canola dehulling. In the future, I would like to get involved in industrial and academic research to solve practical problems. I have a special interest in practical engineering problems that involve design methodologies and that required high innovation and conceptual abstraction. Besides my professional life, I enjoy playing basketball, travelling and reading.

Picture of Dr. Sarah Purdy

Dr. Sarah Purdy MSc, PhD
Post Doctoral Fellow Plant Sciences

Sarah has a background in physics and applies her knowledge of materials, complex systems, and models to process development for lipid quality and utilization. She is an expert in spectroscopic techniques including O17-NMR, and FarIR, used to analyze plant extracts and products. She has interests in food fraud detection using spectroscopic techniques and spends extra time on science communication. She is involved with projects in the LQU group including Adding Value to Canola Seed Production, Electrostatic Conditioning of Canola Oil, Cyanogenic Glycoside Removal from Whole Flax Seeds, and Ethanol Fuel Upgrading to address the shortage of hand sanitizer in Canada during COVID-19. Dr. Purdy enjoys deciphering complex and challenging problems that don’t have a clear solution.

Picture of Dr. Martin Reaney

Dr. Martin Reaney BSc, MSc, PhD
Professor Department of Plant Sciences

Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Research Program (SRP) Chair in Lipid Quality and Utilization Chairman and CEO of Prairie Tide Diversified Inc. Visiting Professor at the International School at the Jinan University

Dr. Jianheng (Shen) Shen PhD
Professional Research Associate Department of Plant Sciences

Dr. Jianheng Shen is a Professional Research Associate at the University of Saskatchewan. He possesses special expertise in analysis, process development and optimization.

Mr. Ziliang (Len) Song BSc, MSc
PhD Candidate Department of Plant Sciences

Ziliang (Len) Song started his research at Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, where he completed his undergraduate degree in food science. He conducted projects on developing analytical methods for measuring chemical contaminants in edible oil using mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). His enjoyment of research and the international atmosphere of Jinan University inspired him to come to Canada in 2013 for his postgraduate training at the University of Alberta. As a Master’s student, he worked on metabolic engineering of oilseeds for novel lipid biosynthesis, specifically a fatty acid originally enriched in pomegranate seeds, with remarkable value for nutraceutical and industrial applications. With his great interest in the genetics of plant natural products, Len became a Ph.D. student of UofS in 2017. He is now working with Dr. Martin Reaney, Dr. Tim Sharbel and Dr. Matthew Links on using bioinformatics tools to study the diversity and evolution of cyclic peptides in flax and other species. In his spare time, Len enjoys swimming, skiing, playing the piano and photography.

Dr. Timothy Tse BSc, MSc, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Plant Sciences

Tim has previously obtained his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Saskatchewan in 2011. He further enrolled in the Ph.D. programme at the Toxicology Centre, the University of Saskatchewan, where he employed analytical mass spectrometry techniques and next-generation sequencing to reconstruct trends in the phototrophic community in Prairie lakes. Recently, he employed whole-genome shotgun sequencing to identify an endemic microbial community responsible for the conversion of glycerol into high-value compounds (e.g. 1,3-propanediol) in wheat-based thin stillage. As a postdoctoral fellow, he is working on enhancing the utilization of canola and barley crops in the production of ethanol and relevant, valuable co-products (e.g. alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine). Currently, he is also researching methods to upgrade and purify industrial ethanol to pharmaceutical/food-grade ethanol, as well as investigating ways to increase ethanol and alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine content during alcoholic fermentation.

Mr. Dan Wiens BSc, MSc
Research Technician Department of Plant Sciences

Dan has previously studied plant-insect interactions in the University of Saskatchewan’s Biology department, and is currently working on feeding fermented agricultural products to black soldier fly larvae. He is also acting as manager of the Bioprocessing Pilot Plant, which is a facility that allows researchers to scale-up procedures such as extracting and separating plant products.

Mr. Li Zhou BSc, MSc
PhD Student Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Mr. Li Zhou is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, co-supervised by Dr. Martin Reaney and Dr. Venkatesh Meda. Li completed his undergraduate and post-graduate studies at Wuhan Polytechnic University, Wuhan, China. Li has a strong background knowledge of vegetable oil processing, vegetable oil processing plant design and plant protein processing. Currently, Li is working in the LQU research team in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. Li’s program involves vegetable oil and biodiesel conditioning by the electrostatic field in conjunction with an adsorbent.