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Professor Kirkwood received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta in 2006. Her doctoral research investigated microbiological technologies for upgrading crude oil and bitumen. She also has undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering from the Universities of Saskatchewan and Ottawa.
Following her Ph.D., Professor Kirkwood briefly held a postdoctoral position in the Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta, further studying the biotransformation of petroleum hydrocarbons. She then took a postdoctoral position in the Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Sciences at the University of Alberta, conducting process development for high-temperature conversion of renewable lipid feedstocks to value-added products that can be used as industrial chemicals or fuels.
Dr. Kirkwood's research interests and expertise are the study and application of microbial biotransformation pathways to the upgrading of crude, waste, or contaminant materials. Three interrelated areas of interest are the conversion of biological waste materials and co-product streams to value-added products, with a particular focus on renewable energy applications; biotransformation in two-liquid-phase systems; and the biotransformation of hydrophobic compounds such as those represented in crude oils.
Fields of Interest
- Biochemical engineering
- Biofuels and bioproducts
- Microbial fuel cells
- Petroleum microbiology