Associate Professor; Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Nanotechnology for Food and Agriculture

Education

Professor George received Bachelor’s degree in Food Science & Quality Control and Master’s in Biotechnology from Mahatma Gandhi University, India. After obtaining PhD from National University of Singapore, Dr George completed postdoctoral training in nanotoxicology from University of California, Los Angeles, USA. In 2011, Dr George joined Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore as a senior lecturer where he was spearheading research activities at the Centre for Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN).

Dr George addresses research questions related to the implications and application of nanotechnology with the ultimate goal of developing sustainable nanotechnology applications for food safety and security. He has completed several research projects funded by Singapore government and industries that addressed functional relationship between nanomaterial properties and their hazardous and beneficial biological outcomes.

In 2017, Dr George joined McGill University as Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry.

Dr George has authored/ co-authored 47 journal articles, six patents, two book chapters and fifteen invited talks. Dr George is a committee member of ISO/TC229 working group 3 (WG3) dealing with standards for health risk assessment of nanomaterials. He has been serving as reviewer and editorial board member for many leading journals in the field of nanotechnology (nano-bio interactions).

PhD: Microbiology, Biophotonics, Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

MSc: Biotechnology, School of Biosciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, India.

BSc: Food Science and Quality Control, St George’s College Aruvithura, Mahatma Gandhi University Kottayam, India.

Milk proteins are the most common food allergen in infants worldwide. Lack of effective and practically applicable treatments of milk allergy has led to complete avoidance of -milk based diet which ultimately leads to nutritional deficiencies. Hence current focus has been shifted towards development of treatment modalities that successfully induce immune tolerance to dietary allergens. It is therefore assumed that administration of low-doses of nano-encapsulated allergen might lead to induction of allergen-specific tolerogenic response.

So I am developing a nano-enabled immunotherapy against milk allergy by encapsulating allergenic milk proteins in various nano-carriers.

My research focuses on the safety issues of dietary nanomaterials in food value chain by studying  the physico-chemical transformation of dietary nanoparticles and the interaction of nanoparticles with biological targets such as proteins and cells.

My research attempts to understand the potential adverse effects of ingested nanoparticles on human gastrointestinal system and try to develop an adverse outcome pathway that improve the predictability of gastrointestinal toxicity assessment.

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My research is focused on the screening of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and virulent mechanisms in a library of bacterial strains from mastitis infected cattle from Canada-based dairy farms. It will be followed by an invention of novel nano-based therapeutic to fight against such a debilitating disease. I will further collaborate with the University of Glasgow, UK, and contribute to the synthesis of a novel nano-based mastitis diagnostic technique.

I am currently associated with RITA and working for the Quebec-based industries on a novel idea of creating an active Nano-based food packaging system using complementary anti-microbials derived from plant sources in an aim to resist harmful or pathogenic microbial and chemical spoilage of food. 

I completed my BSc. in Food Science with a specialization in Food Chemistry at McGill University in the summer of 2020. During my undergraduate years, I investigated the antioxidant capacities of the protein hydrolysate from seal meat under the supervision of Dr. Benjamin K. Simpson. I also carried out a research project under the supervision of Dr. Saji George, studying the mechanical synthesis and optimization of layered double hydroxide as an alternative to food pigment such as titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Now I am continuing my study at McGill University as a fast-tracked Ph.D. student, co-supervised by Dr. Saji George and Dr. Audrey Moores for the effect of environmental aging on the phototoxicity of photoactive nanomaterials.

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My research focuses on the response of bacteria to ohmic heating and the inactivation effect of ohmic heating on microorganisms in different food matrices. Since ohmic heating could induce sublethally injured bacteria, my research also involves the recovery of ohmic heating-induced injured bacteria.

The research focus of my Master’s project is developing a nanoparticle-based therapeutic for bacterial strains that are resistant to multiple antibiotics found in swine farms. It aims to contribute to food industry and reduce the burden of swine disease on pig farmers.

Plastic pollution is one of the pressing issues of today's world and is reported to have toxic health effects on humans and the environment. Particularly, my interest lies in studying the microplastics and nanoplastics resulting from the degradation of larger plastic polymers and their entry into the human food chain which eventually threaten human health. Therefore, I am working to identify, and characterize the ingested nano plastics and the plastic associated contaminants and finally, determine their potential adverse effects in the human gastrointestinal tract. 

As an inquisitive individual, Estee always ponder what goes behind the scenes into the making of consumables, knowing that there is an interplay between science and technology. To diminish the public’s curiosity and unwillingness to accept the recently discovered facts about foods, her goals to understand and extend the application of food science to improve one’s life, and to educate the public on its importance were set. Her research experience during her undergraduate studies under Dr. Saji George fuelled her desire to pursue graduate studies in the food science field to unlock the tremendous potential of science in food. As a food scientist, Estee strongly believes that through science and a wealth of amassed experiences through research and development, her dream to innovate food products to make contribution to the community and the world can be achieved.

During her undergraduate studies, her research epitomizes the synthesizing of nanocomposite materials as a white pigment alternative to titanium dioxide.

I am a recent graduate with a B.Sc. in Food Chemistry now merging into an MSc in Food Science & Agricultural Chemistry (Thesis). Since 2020, I've been working in the S.A.F.E.-Nano lab as undergraduate research focusing on antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) in mastitis cattle using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) tools. My work with the S.A.F.E.-Nano lab will entail the study of targeted drug delivery using a nanotechnology platform for their potential antibiotic delivery. I am excited to undertake the task of researching targeted pathogenic therapy, specifically in animals. I am delighted to continue my journey with the S.A.F.E.-Nano lab all whilst gaining new experiences and expertise!

I am an undergraduate student majoring in Food Chemistry (B.Sc.) and am also studying to complete a political science minor’s degree. My research interests relate to environmental toxicology, health, human sciences, and institutionalism. I very much look forward to contributing to the process of identifying and characterizing new and known environmental contaminants with the intent to examine their effects on human health and the ways by which environmental assessment methods promise to guide approaches to environmental health conservation in the future. My research work for the SAFE-Nano lab entails the study of plastic-related contaminants and nanoplastics found in drinking water and their potential cytotoxicity. I expect to carry with me the result of this experience in good service into the workforce and with pride!

I am currently an undergraduate enrolled in a major of Environmental Science (B. Sc) with a domain in Economics. My research focuses on the identification of nanoplastics found in bottled water. It aims at determining which conditions amount to the most nano plastic leakage in bottled water. It also aims at conducting health risk assessments by measuring their cytotoxicity. The goal is to enhance our current knowledge of nanomaterials found in bottled water and to mitigate their potential biological risks.  

BSc, 2018

Béatrice Vuilleumier-Kaufmann
Yeojin Joo