Director, Biorefining Research Institute
Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Dr. Robert FH Dekker is Director of the Biorefining Research Institute at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada), and Senior Ontario Research Chair in Biorefining Research. He holds Adjunct Professorships at Lakehead University in the Dept. of Biology and Dept. of Chemistry (Faculty of Science) and Faculty of Natural Resource Management. Dr. Dekker graduated with Honours in Biochemistry in 1969 from the University of Western Australia (Perth). He then moved to the tropical city of Townsville (Queensland, Australia), where he graduated with a Masters (1972) and PhD (1975) degrees in Microbial Biochemistry/Enzymology/Carbohydrate Chemistry from James Cook University. A two-year post-doctoral term was spent at Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg in Germany (1975-76) where he studied the biosynthesis of bacterial cell-wall polysaccharides. In 1976, he worked in academia at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) teaching Biochemistry, and returned to Australia in 1980, where he worked with Australian industry (Sydney) in Biotechnology (1980-81). In 1982, Dr. Dekker joined the CSIRO of Australia (Melbourne) to develop a program of research on plant biomass conversion (now referred to as biorefining). It was at the CSIRO that he developed the steam explosion technology as pretreatment for the enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulosic materials. Upon termination of the program in 1990, Dr. Dekker worked at various academic centers around the world (Murdoch University, 1993-96; Universidade Estadual de Londrina (Brazil), 1999-2002 and 2004-2006; Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Ciudad Real, Spain), 2006-2008) before taking up his present position at Lakehead University in Canada. Dr. Dekker has spent more than 40 years in research (academia, government and industry). He has held Visiting Professorships in Australia, Brasil, Chile, France, Spain and Turkey, has consulted for Australian industry on biotechnology and the United Nations (United Nations Development Fund in Chile, 1982). He is the author of 100 research and review publications, has presented 200 research papers at scientific meetings; national and international, and holds 3 patents on botryosphaeran.
Robert Dekker research interests include enzyme and fermentation technology, microbial physiology, biorefining process development, lignin modification by enzymes, bioremediation, carbohydrate chemistry and biotechnology.