Abdullah Mahboob — 3MT profile

Abdullah Mahboob
PhD student in Biotechnology
2014 Three Minutes Thesis finalist
Supervisor: Doug Bruce
Title of presentation: “Reverse Engineering of Photosystem II: The second generation of the Bacterioferritin ‘reaction centre’ ”


Abdullah Mahboob hits at the heart of research into sustainable fuel production.

“It’s our moral obligation to this planet and all the species you share it with,” says the Brock PhD student in Biotechnology.

Mahboob spoke about the work he is doing in this field during Brock’s Three Minutes Thesis contest finals held earlier this year.

He began his presentation, “Reverse Engineering of Photosystem II: The second generation of the Bacterioferritin ‘reaction centre,’ ” by taking us into the future.

“Imagine you are driving down the road and you realize that you are low on gas, so naturally you pull up to a gas station, except this is not a gas station, this is a fuel recycling station,” he explained. “We take the carbon dioxide out of your exhaust and give you liquid fuel.”

Mahboob’s work focuses on the reverse engineering of natural systems to create industrial viable solutions for fuel production.

“This is sustainability at a molecular level. Carbon dioxide makes fuel. The fuel burns. And the oxygen you made then produces water and carbon dioxide again that you capture and use again,” he explains. “This is a very industrial viable system. In fact we are starting a spinoff company right here at Brock to produce an actual reactor for this system within a year from now.”

Find out more about Mahboob’s research by watching his 3MT presentation.

The 3MT contest is a university-wide competition open to master’s (thesis and research project) and doctoral students in all Brock’s graduate programs. The contest challenges students to talk about their research and why it matters in a way that will inform and captivate people outside of their disciplines. It is held each year in conjunction with Brock’s annual Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference.

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