Richard P. Chandra, PhD

Adjunct Professor of Biology
I believe research is our key to understanding and sustaining the complex and beautiful world that God created. Research is also instrumental in the development of students and leaders, especially when students participate in research during their undergraduate programs.

Research and teaching are investments that we as Faculty make in students and the subsequent success and growth of students is a reflection and extension of our own success, learning and growth.

"So a good teacher always makes you do something a little bit more than you thought that you could do"
-John B. Goodenough, Nobel Prize Winner 2019, Author of "Witness to Grace".

Dr. Chandra brings with him 25 years of research and teaching experience in the area of the development of sustainable, renewable biomaterials and bioenergy. He is the author of 77 peer reviewed journal publications and has delivered more than 100 presentations at scientific conferences. He also has a publication in Science magazine entitled: “Lignin valorization: improving lignin processing in the biorefinery”. The majority of his research has focused on developing environmentally friendly ways to produce renewable and sustainable fuels and materials from the cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin contained in the surplus of waste biomass that we have here in British Columbia.
He received his BSc in Microbiology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He then worked on his MSc in Wood Science at UBC working on the use of wood degrading fungi and enzymes to decolourize wood products from Douglas-fir and Western Red Cedar biomass.
He then pursued his PhD. Working on using fungal enzymes to develop renewable bioproducts with a focus on organic chemistry at the Institute of Paper Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia (now the Renewable Bio-products Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology). During his PhD., Dr. Chandra conducted research for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a multinational producer of paper-based consumer goods and was also award the American Chemical Society Graduate Student award in Cellulose and Renewable Materials.
Upon completion of his doctoral program, Dr. Chandra continued to develop novel methods that use microbial enzymes and benign chemicals to economically convert forest and agricultural wastes to fuels and nanomaterials. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at UBC, working on several projects in collaboration with industry partners, as well as working as a research associate with the UBC Forest Products Biotechnology Group where he was awarded the Wallenberg Young Researchers Award. During this period, he also served on the leadership team of Westlynn Baptist Church in North Vancouver.
Following his work as a Research Associate, Dr. Chandra was hired as a research scientist for InnoTech Alberta, a government research laboratory in Edmonton, where he continued to work on renewable nano-materials while developing several successful funding proposals and industry collaborations. In 2019, Dr. Chandra joined TWU as the Director of Research Studies and then became the Associate Provost Research and Graduate Studies at TWU in 2021.

  • PhD - Pulp and Paper Science with focus on Organic/Wood Chemistry (Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Institute of Technology (now Renewable Bio-products Institute at Georgia Institute of Technology), Atlanta, GA)
  • MSc - Wood Science (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada)
  • BSc -  Microbiology (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada)


My Research interests lie in the area of designing deconstruction methods for recalcitrant lignocellulosic biomass (wood and agricultural residues) to convert them to their natural building blocks: Cellulose, hemicelluose and lignin.. I then use environmentally friendly biological tools such as enzymes and fungi to convert these building blocks to sustainable and renewable materials, chemicals and energy (bioproducts).