Welcome to the Bressler Lab!

Dr. David Bressler
Professor, University of Alberta

Dr. David Bressler is appointed with the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences where he is a Full Professor.  Dr. Bressler earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Cell Biotechnology from the University of Alberta.  Following his studies, Dr. Bressler held a two-year Research Manager position, under Dr. Murray Gray.  The position, which included the instruction of two senior courses per year in Chemical and Materials Engineering (University of Alberta), also included an office and weekly participation at Syncrude Research. 

Personal Information


Gold College Certificate - University of Alberta Leadership Training Program
University of Alberta

Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Biotechnology
University of Alberta

Bachelor of Science in Honors Cell Biotechnology
First Class Honors
University of Alberta

Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science

Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences

Contact Information:
5-22C Agriculture/Forestry Centre
(780) 492-4986


Research Interests

Dr. Bressler’s general area of research is the industrial application of chemical, thermal, and biological systems for the catalytic conversion of conventional agricultural products to platform chemicals, fuels, and value-added commodities.  The recognition of novel mechanisms and the optimization of catalytic biochemical pathways are of special interest.  His research program is unique in that it utilizes a multidisciplinary approach combining industrial microbiology, biotechnology, and analytical chemistry with previous experience in petrochemical conversions and upgrading in conjunction with scale-up and engineering.  Much of the biological work involves production, modification, purification, and design of biocatalytic systems.

One program that is currently underway is the pyrolytic conversion of beef tallow and crop-based oils to high-value specialty solvents and high-cetane alkane based fuels.  This program has been underway since 2003 and has undergoing patent and commercialization activities.  An additional major initiative is currently ongoing which is focused on refining first generation biofuel platforms for the production of additional high-value co-products.  The project was initiated in 2005 and utilizes various current industrial fermentation approaches and a wide variety of western Canadian based crop platforms.  Another program area focuses on the use and design of bioreactor systems for the conversion of lignocellulosic material and other agricultural streams to fermentable sugars using nanomembrane technology. 

Dr. Bressler’s graduate training program is unique in that it trains students with strong academic backgrounds and communication skills in a multidisciplinary environment including projects in biotechnology, chemistry, industrial microbiology, and/or biochemical engineering.


Research Capacity

Dr. Bressler’s laboratory at the University of Alberta is extremely well-equipped to support a variety of research projects under the umbrella of biorefining conversions and fermentations.  The laboratory boasts extensive analytical capacity including GCs with an array of detectors and a GC-MS, HPLC with DAD and RID, Rapid Resolution LC, and a microplate reader. 

A major feature of the lab is a fermentation suite comprised of twelve 5L and four 10L bench-scale bioreactors and five shaking incubators.  The suite is supported by a full-time technician.  The lab also houses a full molecular biology suite, a custom-built pyrolysis reactor, nanomembrane bioreactor, anaerobic chamber, and microscopes with phase contrast and digital image capture capability. 

Scale-up and engineering support by the Bio-Industrial Technologies Division of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (stationed at the University of Alberta’s Agri-Food Discovery Place) also enhances the research capacity of his group.