Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from PlumX
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1996 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Interests

My current research interest is to design bacterial biosensor technologies for use in environmental monitoring and antibiotic discovery. We patented a biosensor technology for use in monitoring naphthenic acids present in the tailings ponds that contain oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), a by-product of oilsands mining. Whole-cell biosensors are a proven technology capable of detecting and quantifying numerous analytes (aromatic and hydrocarbon compounds). Biosensors are engineered bacterial strains that express a genetic circuit comprised of a bacterial promoter responsive to a given compound that is fused to a transcriptional reporter gene. Bacteria can detect low levels of small molecules and produce a simple, quantitative output proportional to the signal. This technology exploits a hallmark feature of bacteria, the ability to detect and respond to changing environmental conditions, by inducing the expression of relevant genes required for the response. Biosensors are sensitive, specific, high throughput, inexpensive, rapid and adaptive to most environmental pollutants.

Personal profile

Shawn completed a BSc Microbiology degree at the University of Manitoba and a PhD in Microbial Pathogenesis at the University of Calgary. He then undertook postdoctoral fellowships in microbial genomics at the University of British Columbia, and membrane biology at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France. Shawn was the Westaim-ASRA Chair in Biofilm studies at the University of Calgary (2006-2012), where his research focussed on biofilms and antibiotic resistance. Shawn is currently a Professor at Athabasca University in Environmental Health and Microbiology. The lab uses microbial genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry to generate whole cell biosensors for various applications.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Calgary

… → 2000

External positions

Adjunct Professor, University of Calgary

1 Apr. 2015 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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