Steven Hallam

Wall Scholar


Associate Professor


Department of Microbiology and Immunology





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Steven Hallam

Dr. Hallam is a University of California, Santa Cruz and MIT trained molecular biologist, microbial ecologist, entrepreneur and innovator with over 20 years experience in field and laboratory research at disciplinary interfaces. He is a Canada Research Chair in Environmental Genomics and a scholar in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) integrated microbial biodiversity program. He is also a program faculty member in the Bioinformatics and Genome Sciences and Technology training programs at UBC. Dr. Hallam currently directs ECOSCOPE, an NSERC CREATE industrial stream training program in support of the emerging bioeconomy.

Dr. Hallam’s current research intersects microbial ecology, biological engineering and bioinformatics with specific emphasis on the creation of functional screens and computational tools that reveal hidden metabolic powers of uncultivated microbial communities. His laboratory has developed MetaPathways, a modular annotation and analysis pipeline to predict metabolic interactions from environmental sequence information. Other research areas include single-cell genome sequencing and biosensor development for environmental monitoring and enzyme discovery. He recently become a Leopold Leadership Fellow and was elected a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science for distinguished contributions to the fields of environmental genomics and microbial ecology.

Primary Recipient Awards

Steven Hallam – Wall Solutions – 2017

Water to Bricks: harnessing fungal metabolism for sustainable biosolids architecture
Principal Investigators: Dr. Steven Hallam, Microbiology and Immunology, UBC; Dr. Joseph Dahmen, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, UBC
Partner Organizations: John Madden, Carole Jolly, Campus and Community Planning, UBC; Laurie Ford, Metro Vancouver Utilities Residuals Management
The project addresses two interrelated areas of industrial ecology, using biosolids produced by wastewater treatment plants as a resource from which to produce biocomposite-based structural building materials. Mycelium biocomposites, composed of mushroom root structures and cellulose, offer similar performance to polystyrene foams but require little energy to produce, cause no harmful emissions to air or water, and are fully biodegradable. Our aim is to develop a system for producing mycelium biocomposites cultivated on biosolids from wastewater treatment operations and to explore new compression technologies to produce structural building materials from biosolid samples. The project will employ emerging research to move materials engineering beyond biomimicry to programmable design and fabrication, using the inherent capacity of wood fungi to transform “water to bricks”. Project outcomes will include a public architectural installation with the blocks produced that simultaneously engages material performance and cultural significance of water consumption and treatment, as well as scientific journal papers describing key technical contributions.

Steven Hallam – Wall Scholars – 2016

During his year in residence at the Institute, Dr. Hallam will complete several manuscripts describing innovative screening methods to discover novel biocatalysts from natural and engineered ecosystems applicable to biomass deconstruction. These biocatalysts can be used to engineer microbial communities for modular biorefining processes resulting in more sustainable paths towards energy and materials production. Through the completion of these manuscripts he will redirect his research program through new funding initiatives and begin drafting a book exploring the power of microbial cooperation from both deep time and contemporary ecological perspectives.
Dr. Hallam will also develop a sustainability strategy for ECOSCOPE and work with colleagues at the Institute to develop more effective science communication and outreach programs.

Steven Hallam – Early Career Scholars – 2007

Co-Principal Investigator Awards

Osvaldo Ulloa – International Visiting Research Scholars – 2012