Keith Pardee

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Role: Scientist

Site: CDL-Toronto

Stream: Health

Dr. Keith Pardee is an assistant professor at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, where he teaches and conducts research in the Faculty’s biomolecular sciences area. Dr. Pardee holds an Honours BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta, an MS in Natural Products Chemistry from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto. Following the completion of his doctoral studies, Dr. Pardee completed a postdoctoral fellowship under the supervision of Professor James J. Collins (Harvard/MIT) and was a research scientist at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, Dr. Pardee’s work combined in vitro synthetic biology and biochemical systems with materials science to build paper-based synthetic gene networks. This included the creation of a method to embed freeze-dried synthetic gene networks and their complementary cellular machinery into paper. These systems remain stable without refrigeration for more than a year and are activated by adding water. The result was a new venue for synthetic biologists to operate in and a much-needed path for the safe deployment of engineered gene circuits beyond the lab.

At the University of Toronto, Dr. Pardee continues to focus on moving synthetic biology outside of the cell. His research program combines biochemistry, molecular engineering, and electronics to create a new class of sterile and abiotic tools for applications both in and outside the lab. By generating in vitro synthetic biology programs and creating in vitro environments to host these biomolecular programs, he aims to produce small, programmable sensors and devices for research, portable diagnostics, and tools for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.

Dr. Pardee’s research has been published in Cell, Nature, PLoS Biology, and Genes and Development, among other academic journals.

In addition to his research pedigree, Dr. Pardee has experience as an instructor as a course sponsor for Commercializing Science at the Harvard Business School and a guest lecturer in Biomedical Instrumentation and Imaging at Boston University and Advanced Cellular Engineering at Harvard University. In his role at the University of Toronto, he is a lecturer, mentor, and supervisor to undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.