Around the World with Randall Weselake

The latest journey, spanning the last half of November 2010, began with an invitation to Seoul, Korea, circled by forest, split in half by its broad waterway, and any resemblance to Edmonton ended there. This 600-year-old city is architecturally resurrecting itself as the World Design Capital.

It was against this backdrop that Randall gave an invited presentation at the 6th International Symposium on Biocatalysis and Biotechnology. He spoke about recent work on key amino acid residues involved in diacylglycerol acyltranferase-1 (DGAT1) activity. This enzyme is involved in seed oil biosynthesis and is a major focus in Phytola’s work toward increasing seed oil content in canola.

Next up was a stop in Munich, Germany for the 8th Euro Fed Lipid Congress. Here, Randall spoke about site saturation mutagenesis of DGAT1.

The tour wrapped up with an inspiring stop at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp, where Randall visited colleague Sten Stymne, leader of the international Industrial Crops producing added value Oils for Novel Chemicals (ICON) project.

“Researchers worldwide are exploring the benefits of developing plant oils for better nutrition and industrial bio-products,” said Weselake upon his return. “This is timely and exciting for Phytola, a melting pot for these activities.”

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