David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC

Professor and Director, Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) Initiative, University of Calgary

(403) 220-5161 | (403) 289-9311 | dlayzell@ucalgary.ca

David Layzell studies energy systems, with a particular focus on understanding and identifying strategies for transforming Canadian energy systems towards sustainability.

From 2008 to 2012, he was the Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), a cross-Faculty, graduate research and training institute at the University of Calgary.

He began his academic career as a Professor of Biology (cross-appointments in the Schools of Environmental Studies and Public Policy) at Queen’s University (Kingston) where he generated over 100 peer reviewed publications, 7 patents and a technology company (Qubit Systems Inc.) before being elected as a ‘Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada’ (FRSC) in 1998. His work in this phase of his career involved the development and use of innovative gas analysis technologies to study the regulation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism in nitrogen-fixing legume plants. 

Since 1998, he has worked with hundreds of faculty at universities across Canada to build multi-disciplinary research teams in the areas of energy and climate change solutions. In this role, he was instrumental in launching research networks that include the BIOCAP Canada Foundation, Fluxnet Canada, the Green Crop Network, Greenhouse Gas Management Canada Network and Carbon Management Canada.

Throughout his career, David Layzell has been committed to the use of multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches to understand and address complex, real-world problems. He sees the energy and environment issues that the world now faces as an example of a challenge that does not respect disciplinary or sector boundaries. By developing novel tools for the analysis and visualization of energy systems, Layzell works to create a forum where various disciplines and industry sectors can work together to find cost-effective solutions to the environmental challenges associated with energy production and use.


  • Potvin C, Burch S, Layzell DB, Meadowcroft J, Mousseau N, Dale A, Henriques I, Margolis L, Matthews HD, Paquin D, Ramos H, Sharma D, Sheppard S, Slkawubsju N 2017. Re-energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future. Sustainable Canada Dialogs Publication.
  • Frankel ML, TI Bhuiyan, A Veksha, MA Demeter, DB Layzell, RJ Helleur, JM Hill, RJ Turner. 2016. Removal and biodegradation of naphthenic acids by biochar and attached environmental biofilms in the presence of co-contaminating metals. Bioresource Technology 216: 352–361
  • Pak NM, Rempillo O, Norman L, Layzell DB. 2016. Early Atmospheric Detection of CO2 from Carbon Capture and Storage Sites. J Air & Waste Management Association
  • Torrie RD, Stone C, Layzell DB. 2016. Understanding energy systems change in Canada: 1. Decomposition of total energy intensity. Energy Economics 56:101-16.
  • Alemasoom H, Samavati F, Brosz J, Layzell DB. 2016. EnergyViz: an interactive system for visualization of energy systems. Visual Computing 32: 403-13.
  • Flynn, B, Graham A, Scott N, Layzell DB and Dong Z. 2014. Nitrogen fixation, hydrogen production and N2O emissions. Can J. Plant Sci 94: 1037-1041.
  • Kimetu JM, Hill J, Husein M, Bergerson J and Layzell DB 2014. Using activated biochar for greenhouse gas mitigation and industrial water treatment. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change DOI 10.1007/s11027-014-9625-9
  • Veksha, A, Zaman W, Layzell, DB and Hill JM. 2014. Enhancing biochar yield by co-pyrolysis of bio-oil with biomass: Impact of potassium hydroxide addition and air pretreatment prior to co-pyrolysis. Bioresource Technology 171: 88-94.
  • Iranmanesh S, Harding T, Abedi J, Seyedeyn-Azad F and Layzell, DB. 2014. Adsorption of naphthenic acids on high surface area activated carbons. J Environ Sci Health A. Tox Hazard Sust Environ Eng. 49: 913-22.
  • Veksha A, McLaughlin H, Layzell DB and Hill JM. 2014. Pyrolysis of wood to biochar: Increasing yield while maintaining micro-porosity. Bioresource Technology 153: 173-9
  • Hacatoglu K, McLellan PJ and Layzell DB. 2011. Feasibility Study of a Great Lakes Bioenergy System. Bioresource Technology 102: 1087-1094.
  • Buckeridge, KM, Cen YP, Layzell, DB, Grogan, P. 2010. Soil biogeochemistry during the early spring in low arctic mesic tundra and the impacts of deepened snow and enhanced nitrogen availability. Biogeochemistry 99: 127-141.
  • Hacatoglu K, McLellan PJ and Layzell DB. 2010. Production of biosynthetic natural gas in Canada. Environmental Science and Technology 44 : 2183-2188.
  • Kirkegaard, J, Christen O, Krupinsky J, Layzell DB. 2008. Break Crop benefits in temperate wheat production. Field Crops Research 107: 185-195.
  • Maimaiti J, Zhang Y, Yang J, Cen Y-P, Layzell DB, Peoples M and Dong Z. 2007 Isolation and Characterization of Hydrogen-Oxidizing Bacteria induced following exposure of soil to Hydrogen Gas and their imipact on plant growth. Environmental Microbiology 9(2): 435-444.
  • Wei H and Layzell, DB. 2006. Adenylate-coupled ion movement: a mechanism for the control of nodule permeability to O2 diffusion. Plant Physiology 141: 280-287.
  • Cen, Y-P, DB Layzell. 2004. Does Oxygen limit nitrogenase activity in soybean exposed to elevated CO2? Plant Cell Environment 27:1229-38.
  • Wei, H, Atkins, CA and Layzell, DB 2004b Adenylate Gradients and Ar:O2 effects on legume nodules: 2. Changes in subcellular adenylate pools. Plant Physiology 134: 1775-1783
  • Wei, H, Atkins, CA and Layzell, DB 2004a. Adenylate Gradients and Ar:O2 effects on legume nodules: 1. Mathematical Models. Plant Physiology 134: 801-812.
  • Dong, Z, Wu, L, Kettlewell, B, Caldwell, CD and Layzell, DB 2003. Hydrogen fertilization of soils - is this a benefit of legumes in rotation? Plant Cell and Environment 26: 1875-79.
  • Cen, YP and Layzell, DB. 2003. In vivo Gas exchange measurement of the site and dynamics of nitrate reduction in Soybean. Plant Physiology 131: 1147-56.
  • Amthor JS, Koch GW, Willms JR and Layzell DB. 2001. Leaf O2 uptake in the dark is independent of concomitant CO2 partial pressure. J Exp. Botany 52(364): 2235-2238.
  • Cen, Yanping, DH Turpin and Layzell, David. 2001. Whole plant gas exchange and reductant biosynthesis in white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) Plant Physiol. 126: 1555-1565
  • Dong Z, S. Hunt, A.N. Dowling, L. J.Winship, and D.B. Layzell 2001. Rapid measurement of hydrogen concentration and its use in the determination of nitrogenase activity of legume plants. Symbiosis 29: 71-81.
  • Dong, Z., Layzell, D.B. 2001. H2 oxidation, O2 uptake and CO2 fixation in H2 treated soils. Plant and Soil. 229: 1-12.
  • Galvez, S., Hirsch, A., Wycoff, K., Hunt, S., Layzell, D., Kondorosi, A., Crespi, M. 2000. Oxygen regulation of a nodule-located carbonic anhydrase. Plant Physiology 124: 1059-1068.
  • Thumfort, P.P., Layzell, D.B., Atkins, C.A. 2000. A Simplified Approach for Modeling Diffusion Into Cells. J. Theoretical Biology 204(1): 47-65.
  • Thumfort, P.P., Layzell, D.B., Atkins, C.A. 1999. Diffusion and reaction of oxygen in the central tis-sue of ureide-producing legume nodules. Plant, Cell and Environment 22: 1351-1365.
  • Willms, J.R., Salon, C., Layzell, D.B. 1999. Evidence for Light-Stimulated Fatty Acid Synthesis in Soybean Fruit. Plant Physiol 120: 1117-1127.
  • Kuzma, M.M., Winter, H., Storer, P., Oresnik, I., Atkins, C.A., Layzell, D.B. 1999. The Site of Oxygen Limitation in Soybean Nodules. Plant Physiology 119:399-407.
  • Layzell, D.B. 1998. Review of 'Biological Indicators of Soil Health' (Pankhurst, Doube and Gupta, 1997, Oxford University Press. The Quarterly Review of Biology 73(4): 530-531.
  • Wycoff KL, Hunt S, Gonzales MB, Vandenbosch KA, Layzell DB, Hirsch AM 1998. Effects of O2 on nodule physiology and expression of nodulins in alfalfa (Medicago sativa L) Plant Physiology 117: 385-395
  • Layzell, D.B., Brisson, N., Devine, M.D., Moloney, M.M., Taylor, G.J., Timmer, V., Yada, R.Y., and Wood, K. 1998. Plant Biology and Food Science in Canada: A vision for the future. Canadian Journal of Botany 76: 355-364
  • Zhang F, Dijak M, Smith DL, Lin J, Walsh K, Voldeng H, Macdowell F, Layzell DB. 1997. Nitrogen fixation and nitrate metabolism for growth of six diverse soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] geno-types under low temperature stress. Environ. Exp. Botany 38:49-60
  • Willms JR, Dowling AN, Dong ZM, Hunt S, Shelp BJ, Layzell DB. 1997. The simultaneous measurement of low rates of CO2 & O2 exchange in biological systems. Analytical Biochemistry 254: 272-282.
  • Kaiser, B.N., D.B. Layzell and B.J. Shelp. 1997. Role of oxygen limitation and nitrate metabolism in the nitrate inhibition of nitrogen fixation by pea. Physiologia Plantarum 101: 45-50.
  • Neo, HH and DB Layzell. 1997. Phloem glutamine and the regulation of O2 diffusion in legume nodules. Plant Physiology 113: 259-267.
  • Neo, HH, S. Hunt and DB Layzell. 1996. Can genotypes of soybean (Glycine max) selected for ni-trate tolerance provide good models for studying the mechanism of nitrate inhibition of nitrogenase activity? Physiologia Plantarum 98: 653-660.
  • Shelp, B.J., C.S. Walton, W.A. Snedden, L.G. Tuin, I.J. Oresnik and D.B. Layzell. 1995. Gaba shunt in developing seeds is associated with hypoxia. Physiologia Plantarum 94: 219-228.
  • Kuzma, M.M., A.F. Topunov and D.B. Layzell. 1995. Effects of Temperature on Infected Cell O2 concentration and adenylate levels in attached soybean nodules. Plant Physiology 107: 1209-1216.
  • Diaz del Castillo, L and D.B. Layzell. 1995. Drought stress, permeability to O2 diffusion, and the respiratory kinetics of soybean root nodules. Plant Physiology 107: 1187-1194.
  • Diaz del Castillo, L, S Hunt and DB Layzell. 1994. The role of oxygen in the regulation of nitrogenase activiity in drought-stressed soybean nodules. Plant Physiology 106: 949-955.
  • Kaiser, B., P Thumfort, D.B. Layzell and B. Shelp. 1994 Oxygen limitation of N2 fixation in various legume symbioses. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 74: 853-855.
  • Kuzma, MM and DB Layzell. 1994. Acclimation of soybean nodules to changes in temperature. Plant Physiology 106: 263-270.
  • de Lima, M, IJ Oresnik, M Fernando, S Hunt, R Smith, DH Turpin, DB Layzell. 1994. The relationship between nodule adenylates and the regulation of nitrogenase activity by O2 in soybean. Plant Physiology 91: 687-695.
  • Thumfort, P, CA Atkins and DB Layzell 1994. A re-evaluation of the role of the infected cell in the control of O2 diffusion in legume nodules. Plant Physiology 105: 1321-1333.
  • VanCauwenberghe, OR, Wm Newcomb, MJ Canny and DB Layzell. 1994. Evidence that short-term regulation of nodule permeability does not occur in the inner cortex. Physiologia Plantarum 91: 477-487.
  • Moloney, AHM, R Guy and DB Layzell. 1994. A model of the regulation of nitrogenase electron allocation in legume nodules. II. Comparison of Emperical and Theoretical studies in soybean. Plant Physiology 104: 541-550
  • Oresnik, I and DB Layzell 1994. The role of adenyates in O2 limited metabolism of soybean nodules. Plant Physiology 104: 217-225.
  • Moloney, AHM and DB Layzell. 1993. A model of the regulation of nitrogenase electron allocation in legume nodules. I. The diffusion barrier and H2 inhibition of N2 fixation. Plant Physiology 103: 421-428.
  • VanCauwenberghe, OR, Wm Newcomb, MJ Canny and DB Layzell 1993 Dimensions and distribution of intercellular spaces in cryo-planed soybean nodules. Physiologia Plantarum 89: 252-261
  • Hunt, S and DB Layzell. 1993. Gas exchange of legume nodules and the regulation of nitrogenase activity. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology. 44: 483-512.
  • Kuzma, MM, S Hunt and DB Layzell. 1993. Role of oxygen in the limitation and inhibition of nitro-genase activity and respiration rate in individual soybean nodules. Plant Physiology 101: 161-169.
  • Atkins, CA, S Hunt, and DB Layzell 1993 Gaseous diffusive properties of soybean nodules cultures with non-ambient pO2. Physiologia Plantarum 87: 89-95.