Dutcher Lab Research Overview

Research Projects

We have numerous multidisciplinary research projects which range from studies of the time dependent mechanical properties of bacterial cells to controlling the conformation and oligomerization of adsorbed proteins to understanding the underlying mechanisms of the degradation of cellulose by enzymes. For a brief description of the type of research currently being pursued in the Dutcher Lab, follow the links in the list of projects shown to the left.


PhytoSpherix Polysaccharide Nanoparticle Technology

We have discovered a novel type of polysaccharide nanoparticle, PhytoSpherix, which we have developed into a promising industrial technology. PhytoSpherix particles are natural polysaccharide nanoparticles that we extract and purify from corn. They have many desirable properties such as high monodispersity, uniform surface chemistry, biodegradability and non-toxicity, and they are easily soluble in water, giving solutions with no significant viscosity even at high concentrations.

This safe, natural nanotechnology is being commercialized by our spinoff company, Mirexus Biotechnologies, which is working with customers to develop innovative products for personal care and nutraceutical applications. For more information, please contact Dr. Phil Whiting, the President and CEO of Mirexus.

Biomedical applications of the technology are being commercialized by another start-up company, Glysantis, which is active in preclinical research and development of novel nano-medicines. Through their proprietary NanoGlys platform, Glysantis is developing therapies for a wide range of clinical applications.



The Dutcher lab has several exciting collaborations with companies who are interested in understanding the properties of polymers and biopolymers for a variety of applications. For a short profile of the capabilities of our research group, click here.


Funding Sources

We have funding from a variety of sources, including the Discovery Grant, Engage and Collaborative Research and Development programs of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Fund, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Canada Research Chairs program, and Mirexus Biotechnologies. 

In the recent past we have received funding from the Advanced Foods and Materials Network, the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Iogen Corporation, Materials and Manufacturing Ontario, the Premier’s Research Excellence Award program, the Ontario Innovation Trust, and several other companies.