McMaster University

McMaster University

Duane Chung,


Assistant Professor (Part-Time)
Pathology and Molecular Medicine

McMaster University
David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute
237 Barton St East C5-103
Hamilton, Ontario L8L 2X2
Tel: 905-527-4322, ext. 40753


Currently accepting Undergraduate Students

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

  • PhD, Biophysics, University of Michigan
  • MSc, Biophysics, University of Michigan
  • BSc, Honours Mathematics, McGill University


My team has two primary goals: (1) to prevent and cure cancer and cardiovascular disease; (2) and to reverse climate change.

To accomplish these goals, I have founded two companies, Algaeneers Inc (, and Neemo Inc (

For any student considering training in my lab, the most important criteria are: your curiosity; a voracious appetite for learning (including through self-study); your ability to solve problems (where the answer is not known); and your desire to utilize scientific knowledge to make a huge, measurable, positive impact in people’s lives.

Academic excellence is expected, but please note that strong academic performance and the above criteria are very different things. If you are looking for a training experience where you will be told exactly what to do, this is not the right lab for you. Our approach is: we decide what we want to do, and then we go and figure out how to do it. If you can see yourself thriving in the very best Silicon Valley start-up company, you’ll be happy in my lab.

To prevent and cure cancer and cardiovascular disease, we emphasize the use of personalized medicine (ie: analysis of a patient’s genome, exome, transcriptome, metabolome, and tumour samples) to develop customized, patient-specific, precise (ie: with minimal side-effects) therapies. We make heavy use of machine learning and data analytics to extract predictive, diagnostic, and therapeutic insights from patient data. We discover and make clinical-grade biotherapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies. We also make recombinant vaccines and have received funding from Grand Challenges Canada to produce low-cost vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, for low- and middle-income countries such as India and Bangladesh (to see our Grand Challenges project, visit this link).

To reverse climate change, we are developing and commercializing a process called ‘chemisynthesis’, which uses chemical energy, instead of sunlight, to fix carbon dioxide. The use of chemical energy instead of sunlight, allows chemisynthesis to be far more scalable, cost-effective, and faster than photosynthesis-based carbon fixation. The form of chemical energy used in our chemisynthesis process is methane, which can be obtained from flared and vented (i.e. waste) natural gas and biogas. Methane can also be made synthetically from carbon dioxide and hydrogen using renewable and clean energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear. We are designing and developing a modular, 4th generation high-temperature nuclear reactor which can burn radioactive waste, to eventually provide another power source for chemisynthesis.

Selected Publications

  • Bruder M., Pyne M.E., Moo-Young D., Chung D.A., and Chou C.P. Extending CRISPR-Cas9 technology from genome editing to transcriptional engineering in Clostridium. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82:6109-6119, 2016.
  • Pyne M.E., Sokolenko S., Liu X., Srirangan K., Bruder M.R., Aucoin, M., Moo-Young, M., Chung, D.A., and Chou C.P. Disruption of the reductive 1,3-propanediol pathway triggers production of 1,2-propanediol for sustained glycerol fermentation by Clostridium pasteurianum. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82:5375-5388, 2016. (Paper highlighted in the issue Spotlight).
  • Pyne M.E., Liu X., Moo-Young M., Chung D.A., Chou C.P. Genome-directed analysis of prophage excision, host defence systems, and central fermentative metabolism in Clostridium pasteurianum. Scientific Reports, 6, 26228, 2016.
  • Pyne M.E., Bruder M.R., Moo-Young M., Chung D.A., Chou C.P. Harnessing heterologous and endogenous CRISPR-Cas machineries for efficient markerless genome editing in Clostridium. Scientific Reports, 6:25666, 2016.
  • Pyne M.E., Moo-Young M., Chung D.A., Chou C.P. Antisense-RNA-mediated gene downregulation in Clostridium pasteurianum. Fermentation (Special Issue: Metabolic Engineering), 1: 113-116, 2015.
  • Pyne M.E., Bruder M.R., Moo-Young M., Chung D.A., Chou C.P. Coupling the CRISPR/Cas9 System with Lambda Red Recombineering enables simplified chromosomal gene replacement in Escherichia coli. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81(15): 5103-5114, 2015.
  • Bruder M.R., Moo-Young M., Chung D.A., Chou C.P. Elimination of carbon catabolite repression in Clostridium acetobutylicum--a journey toward simultaneous use of xylose and glucose. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 99(18): 7579-7588, 2015.
  • Pyne, M.E., Moo-Young, M., Chung, D.A., Chou, C.P. Expansion of the genetic toolkit for metabolic engineering of Clostridium pasteurianum: chromosomal gene disruption of the endogenous CpaAI restriction enzyme. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 7:163, 2014.
  • Pyne, M.E., Utturkar, S., Brown, S.D., Moo-Young, M., Chung, D.A., Chou, C.P. Improved draft genome sequence of Clostridium pasteurianum strain ATCC 6013 (DSM 525) using a hybrid Next-Generation Sequencing approach. Genome Announcements, 2(4): e00790-14, 2014.
  • Pyne, M.E., Bruder, M., Moo-Young, M. Chung, D.A., Chou, C.P. Technical guide for genetic advancement of underdeveloped and intractable Clostridium. Biotechnology Advances, 32(3): 623-641, 2014.
  • Pyne, M.E., Moo-Young, M., Chung, D.A., Chou, C.P. Development of an electrotransformation protocol for genetic manipulation of Clostridium pasteurianum. Biofuels for Biotechnology, 6:50, 2013.

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