Department of Geology
923 Robie Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 3C3

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The large-scale study of the structures, pathways, and networks of cellular lipids in biological and geochemical systems.


The Organic Geochemistry Lab at Saint Mary's University is studying seep sediments in the offshore of the Scotian Margin, in collaboration with University of Calgary, MARUM at the University of Bremen, Germany, Nova Scotia Department of Energy (NS-DoE), and the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) as part of a Genome Canada funded Genomic Application Partnership Program (GAPP).

Saint Mary's contribution to the project is being carried out by Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Carl Peters who is analyzing the intact polar lipids (IPLS) that come from the membranes of living (or very recently deceased) cells of bacteria and archaea living in the Scotian slope sediments. OGL is trying to characterize these lipids to identify subsurface microbial populations that may be feeding on hydrocarbons seeping up from active petroleum systems. In this way, the discovery of lipids from hydrocarbon oxidizing microbes may help de-risk oil exploration by helping to locate favourable drilling sites.

Dr. Ventura is currently a member of the program management committee for GAPP project, titled "Microbial Genomics for De-risking Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in Nova Scotia."

Department of Energy