Emma Master has received an ERC Consolidator Grant

The project aims to accelerate benefits of the genomic era, by finding novel proteins and enzymes with totally new and useful properties.
Portrait picture of Adjunct Professor Emma Master, Aalto University


Associate professor Emma Master from the University of Toronto also working as FiDiPro Research Fellow at Aalto university School of Chemical Technology Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology has received an ERC Consolidator Grant for a research project called BHIVE (Bio-derived HIgh Value polymers through novel Enzyme function).

The project aims to accelerate benefits of the genomic era, by finding novel proteins and enzymes with totally new and useful properties in the modification and processing of renewable resources (e.g. lignocellulose). These will be discovered using most modern techniques of biotechnology for protein selection and functional characterization, and by concentrating on less characterized enzyme families with potential applications in the field. One of the key parts of the project will be the development of new methods to increase the efficiency in finding proteins and enzymes with desired properties within extremely varied and numerous protein candidates.

Biological understanding and biotechnical methods are developing at very high pace. By combining these we will be able to valorize renewable resources sustainably, in variable ways and for novel purposes. As an example the world market for high-value biochemicals and bioplastics is increasing rapidly.

The European Research Council (ERC) supports groundbreaking research in all branches of science by funding the work of top researchers.

ERC research grants have been awarded since 2007. Aalto University has 19 recipients of the grant. 12 of them are ERC Starting Grants, which are five-year grants awarded to talented new researchers for the establishment of their own research group. 5 of them are ERC Advanced Grants for distinguished top researchers.


Emma Master (B.Sc. McGill University; Ph.D. University of British Columbia; PDF Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, at the University of Toronto.  Her team applies genomic and metagenomic methods along with advanced analytical techniques to discover and develop enzymes relevant to plant biopolymer engineering. In addition to receiving a Finnish Distinguished Fellowship (FiDiPro), her recent awards include an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and a Faculty Research Leadership award. She is part of the Canadian NSERC Bioconversion Network and NSERC Industrial Biocatalysis Network, and leads “FFABnet: Applied Genomics for Functionalized Fibre and Biochemicals”, a collaborative research program funded by the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development and Innovation.

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