• David Levin smiling and posing for the camera.
  • Professor
    Department of Biosystems Engineering

    Room E1-354 EITC
    97 Dafoe Road W
    University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
    Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V6



David B. Levin is a Professor in the Department of Biosystems Engineering, at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Levin received a Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies (BEs)at the University of Waterloo in 1977, a Master of Science (MSc) from the University of Guelph (in Entomology) in 1979, and a Doctorate (PhD) from McGill University (Virology) in 1987.



Bioengineering and Biotechnology for Sustainability.


Microbiology; Molecular biology; Genomics; Proteomics; Transcripomics; Microbial metabolism; Bioprocessing; Biomaterials; Bioremediation; Biopolymers; Microbial and Enzymatic degradation of polymers.

Research description

Dr. Levin's research approach integrates microbiology, molecular biology and genome sciences (bioinformatics, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) and bioprocess engineering. His research links science and engineering to develop new processes for next generation biofuel production with lower input costs. His research has focused on developing applications for renewable biodegradable polymers synthesized by bacteria (Polyhydroxyalkanoates). They are developing novel composites for the manufacture of biodegradable food-packaging materials and evaluating their biodegradability. They are also investigating microbial and enzymatic degradation of synthetic polyesters derived from petroleum (Polypropylene, Polybutylene succinate, Polybutylene-Adipate Terephthalate, Polycaprolactone, Polyethylene succinate, etc…). They have isolated bacteria and enzymes that can specifically biodegrade and bioassimilate both “renewable” and synthetic polymers (including Polyethylene). They have cloned and over-expressed polymer degrading enzymes in Escherichia coli, and then purified and characterized these enzymes.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Dr. Levin does not have any graduate student opportunities available at this time.

Selected Publications

Papers related to microbial production and characterization of the physical-mechanical-thermal properties, and development of applications for biodegradable PHA polymers

Dartiailh C, Blunt W, Sharma PK, Liu S, Cicek N, Levin DB. 2020. The thermal and mechanical properties of medium chain-length polyhydroxyalkanoates produced by Pseudomonas putida LS46 on various substrates. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 8. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.617489

Blunt W, Levin DB, Cicek N. 2020. Bioreactor operating strategies for improved polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) productivity. Polymers 10, 1197; DOI:10.3390/polym10111197

Blunt W, Gaugler M, Collet C, Sparling R, Gapes DJ, Levin DB, Cicek N. 2019. Rheological behavior of high cell density Pseudomonas putida LS46 cultures during production of medium chain length Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) polymers. Bioengineering 6(4), 93. DOI:10.3390/bioengineering6040093

Blunt W, Dartiailh C, Sparling R, Gapes DJ, Levin DB, Cicek N. 2019. Development of high cell density cultivation strategies for improved medium chain length Polyhydroxyalkanoate productivity using Pseudomonas putida LS46. Bioengineering 6(4), 89. DOI:10.3390/bioengineering6040089 

Papers related to isolation and characterization of microbes and enzymes for degradation of both renewable and petroleum-derived polymers

Mohanan N, Wong CH, Budisa, N, Levin DB. 2022. Characterization of polymer degrading lipases, LIP1 and LIP2 from Pseudomonas chlororaphis PA23. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, In Press.

Montazer Z, Habibi Najafi MB, Levin DB. 2021. In vitro degradation of low-density polyethylene by new bacteria from larvae of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 67: 249–258. dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjm-2020-0208

Mohanan N, Sharma PK, Levin DB. 2020. Characterization of an intracellular poly(3-hydroxyalkanoate) depolymerase from the soil bacterium, Pseudomonas putida LS46. Polymer Stability and Degradation 175, 109127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2020.109127

Mohanan N, Montazer Z, Sharma PK, Levin DB. 2020. Microbial and enzymatic degradation of synthetic plastics. Frontiers in Microbiology, Special Research Topic, “New Microbial Isolates from Hostile Environments: Perspectives for a Cleaner Future”. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.580709

Montazer Z, Habibi Najafi MB, Levin DB. 2020. Challenges with verifying microbial degradation of polyethylene. Polymers 12, 123; DOI:10.3390/polym12010123 

Papers related to microbial synthesis of carotenoids and/or polyunsaturated fatty acids by bacteria, microalgae, and oleaginous yeasts

Peng T, Fakankun I, Levin DB. 2021. Accumulation of neutral lipids and carotenoids of Rhodotorula diobovata and Rhodosporidium babajevae cultivated on nitrogen-limited media with sufficient glycerol. FEMS Microbiology Letters 368(18): fnab126. https://doi.org/10.1093/femsle/fnab126

Fakankun I, Fristensky B, Levin DB. 2021. Genome sequence analysis of the oleaginous yeast, Rhodotorula diobovata, and comparison of the carotenogenic and oleaginous pathway genes and gene products with other oleaginous yeasts. Journal of Fungi 7(4), 320. https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7040320

Fakankun I, Fristensky B, Levin DB. 2021. Proteomic analysis of the oleaginous and carotenogenic yeast Rhodotorula diobovata across growth phases under nitrogen- and oxygen-limited conditions. Journal of Biotechnology 332, 11-19. https://doi.org/10.1

Sestric R, Spicer V, Krokhin OV, Sparling R, Levin DB. 2021. Analysis of the Yarrowia lipolytica proteome reveals subtle variations in expression levels between lipogenic and non-lipogenic conditions. FEMS Yeast Research doi: 10.1093/femsyr/foab007.