Trent Professor Awarded $1.25 Million Ontario Research Chair in Green Chemistry and Engineering


Pioneering Biomaterials Researcher and Trent Alumnus
Dr. Suresh Narine to help build Emerging Green Chemistry Sector

Tuesday, February 23, 2010, Peterborough

Trent University’s Dr. Suresh Narine, an internationally renowned expert in the groundbreaking field of biomaterials, has been awarded one of two $1.25 million Ontario Research Chairs in Green Chemistry and Engineering by the Ontario Research Chairs Selection Panel.

The award, recently confirmed by the Honourable John Gerretsen, Minister of the Environment, symbolizes and celebrates the scientific expertise emerging at Trent University with the recent launch of both the Trent Biomaterials Research Program and the Centre of Knowledge in the Environment. As Ontario Research Chair, Dr. Narine will receive funding of $250,000 a year for five years.

“This prestigious provincial award adds to the momentum that is building around a new field of research that holds great promise in addressing some of society’s greatest environmental challenges. The impacts of this research will be felt locally and internationally,” said Dr. James Parker, vice president of research at Trent University. “We are very grateful to the Government of Ontario for their ongoing and generous support of Dr. Narine’s scholarly research.” In 2009, Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs pledged support to the establishment of the new Trent Biomaterials Research Program, headed by Dr. Narine.

 “I am deeply honoured by this selection,” said Dr. Narine, who came to Trent from the University of Alberta in September 2009. “This chair not only represents a highly opportune and important addition to the University’s research and development strengths in the areas of Chemistry, Environmental and Resource Science/Studies, Physics, and Materials Science but it will also assist in creating new pathways for Trent students to learn about and gain important experience in the emerging field of green chemistry.”

As the Ontario Research Chair in Green Chemistry and Engineering program, Dr. Narine will:

  • develop and publish a body of research in the fields of green chemistry and green engineering
  • identify and address barriers to commercialization of green chemistry and engineering discoveries
  • emphasize the development of alternative approaches that result in the reduced use and release of toxins, including those substances identified under Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act, 2009 and its regulations
  • build networks with other researchers and research bodies in Canada and abroad, including industry and non-governmental organizations
  • contribute to public understanding and policy development in  the area of toxics reduction
  • contribute to the training of highly qualified personnel

"I would like to congratulate Dr. Suresh Narine on being selected as one of the two chairs for Ontario Research Chairs in Green Chemistry and Engineering. I know his role will help Ontario become a leader in this field,” said Jeff Leal, MPP for Peterborough. “I would also like to thank the Council of Ontario Universities for administering this competition and all the work they have put into it."

In a news release, Environment Minister John Gerretsen said, “Dr. Narine will play an important role in developing the green chemistry sector of the economy and will contribute to Ontario becoming a world leader in this field.”

Dr. Suresh Narine
An internationally-renowned expert in the field of biomaterials, Dr. Narine has spent the last decade dedicated to discovering ways to create the same materials we know and rely on, like plastics, and used in a range of products from colostomy bags to car bumpers, from better, more environmentally-friendly agricultural oilseed crops such as soy beans and canola. In a world of finite fossil oil resources, it is a field that is gaining urgency and momentum.

A Trent University alumnus, Dr. Narine, who is originally from Guyana, completed both his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Peterborough. In Alberta, he was one of four Alberta Value Added Corporation Chairs with the University of Alberta, where he built the Alberta Lipid Utilization Research Program, focused on the utilization of fats and oils for the production of industrial materials, high value edible applications, and cosmetic ingredients. As an NSERC Industrial Chair in Lipid Utilization, Dr. Narine also built the world’s leading agri-food materials science lab and plant facility and, among other feats, developed the technology to convert canola oil and other vegetable oils to biodegradable plastics. He is also director of Guyana’s Institute of Applied Science and Technology and author of Guyana’s Agro-Energy strategy. For his work, Dr. Narine is regarded as a pioneer of bioenergy and agro-energy in Guyana and the Caribbean.

Trent Biomaterials Research Program
Biomaterials represent a multidisciplinary approach to the development of new and functional, environmentally-responsible materials from renewable, sustainable agricultural feedstock, using: synthetic organic chemistry; microbial and enzymatic modification; materials chemistry and physics; and polymers physics. The resulting products include: healthy, functional foods and food matrices; functional, toxin-free polymers; functional waxes and greases; lubricants with specialized functionalities; cosmetics; and fuels.

Within the Biomaterials Research Program at Trent, Dr. Narine and his team will study the synthesis, structure, and functionality of biomaterials from lipid feedstock. Phase 1 of 2 phases is complete, with Phase 2 slated for completed in September 2010. When completed, the Trent Biomaterials Research Program will be among the top one percent of laboratories in the world focussed on lipid bioproducts and their structure-function relationships.


For more information about the Trent Biomaterials Research Program and Trent University’s Centre of Knowledge in the Environment, visit

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Suresh Narine, Trent Biomaterials Research Program, (705) 748-1011, ext. 6105 or