Prof. Emma Master

Microbes: Pioneers in Renewable Resource Management

Microbial community can offer environmental community tips, tricks and best practices


Prof. Emma Master is a Principal Investigator at the Bioproducts Research Lab and Biozone – Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering at the University of Toronto.  We asked her everything from what inspired her to become a researcher to what she is reading in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What inspired you to become a scientist?
Nature itself was the inspiration.

What do you like most about being a scientist?
The peace and clarity of mind that comes through directly exploring the natural world, and the humility that follows each discovery.

What do you envision in the future of your field?
Smarter use of renewable resources through a better understanding the microbial world that has already learned how to do this.

How will your research make a difference in our lives?
Our research is uncovering ways to make better use of plant materials that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels while still enjoying a high quality of life.

What advice would you give young researchers?
Follow your interests and persevere.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Establishing an international research team to accelerate discoveries and tackle big research questions.

What do you read?
I like to read old philosophical texts, like those of Aristotle, Confucius, and the Mahabharata.

What’s on your iPod/CD collection/turntable?
Eurythmics, Bowie, Leonard Cohen.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?

What do you like to do for fun?
Cycling and camping.

Want to learn more about Prof. Master’s research? Check out her Orange Chair Interview, Plants Over Plastics: New Materials Reduce Environmental Footprint.