Analytical chemistry method development for lignin breakdown products

The partner organization MetaMixis Inc. is attempting to use biocatalytic ways to process lignin, the second most abundant biopolymer on earth, with microbiology methods to transform lignin into fine chemicals in useful quantities within a reasonable time frame. The process and end products need to be fully characterized using analytical tools to ensure the efficiency. The end products include vanillin, vanillic acid, p-coumaric acid, syringaldehyde, syringic acid, and vanillyl alcohol. The proposed research project to be undertaken is to apply state-of-art mass spectrometry based analytical chemistry techniques, including high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry and capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry to characterize the biocatalytic process as well as quantify the end products from the transformation to ensure the production quality and efficiency. The developed analytical method will be fast and robust to accommodate the partner organization’s demand for high throughput analytical methods in monitoring the products from overnight batch productions.

Faculty Supervisor:

David Chen


Shuai Sherry Zhao


MetaMixis Inc.






University of British Columbia



Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects